Ford turns car into app development platform

Company enables developers to interface directly with vehicle.

Eager to incorporate more voice-enabled apps into its cars, Ford Motor just rolled out a program to lure application developers to its platform. The Ford Developer Program, which resembles initiatives at Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), gives developers a way to integrate their software with the auto maker's SYNC AppLink onboard system, reports Darryl K. Taft at eWeek.

Ford's Open XC platform, which amounts to an open API for the vehicle, is out of its beta phase, and the company claims to be the first car manufacturer to enable developers to interface directly with the vehicle. The company is touting the program for developers as dramatically changing the way in which companies pursue new features and other innovations.

"Opening the car to developers gives consumers a direct voice and hand in the creation of apps that can help our products remain relevant, up to date and valuable to our customers," said Hau Thai-Tang, vice president of engineering for Ford Global Product Development. "Engaging innovators outside of the company is a key part of our strategy to be consumer-driven in all aspects of our business, helping us not only satisfy what's going on today, but setting us up for innovative solutions to the challenges coming in the future."

Recognizing that consumer electronics advance faster than automobiles, Ford worked with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to develop SYNC.  The platform offers connectivity and voice control for smartphones and music players using Bluetooth or USB.

The program lets developers incorporate AppLink code into an app, which is then reviewed by engineers at Ford. After the app is approved, a distribution license is provided and the app is sent to the appropriate app marketplace.

For more:
-see Darryl K. Taft's article at eWeek

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