Ford, GM Invite Developers To Create Apps for the Automobile


  • Ford Developer Program Picture

    Ford Developer Program Picture

    Ford announced it will launch an open developer program for app writers to enhance the driving experience. | January 08, 2013

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Just the Facts:
  • Ford and General Motors invite developers to create apps for the automobile in two key announcements at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.
  • Ford said it is launching an open developer program that enables software developers to directly interface with the vehicle and create apps that will "enhance the driving experience."
  • GM announced a new flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and features to their vehicles after the initial purchase, thus allowing "vehicle infotainment systems to improve over time."

LAS VEGAS — Ford and General Motors are taking different approaches as they invite developers to create apps for the automobile in two key announcements at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

Ford said it is launching an open developer program that enables software developers to directly interface with the vehicle and create apps that will "enhance the driving experience."

GM announced a new flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and features to their vehicles after the initial purchase, thus allowing "vehicle infotainment systems to improve over time."

"There will be a category of apps that will be unique to our cars and very different from what people use today on their smartphones or tablets," said Phil Abram, GM chief infotainment officer, in a statement. "It's not just taking phone apps and making them function in a car, which most car companies do in some form now.

"Instead, GM may approve applications that stem from vehicle ownership. For example, customers can choose to download applications that assist them in driving more safely or in a more fuel efficient manner, possibly decreasing the cost of vehicle ownership."

GM said it will offer developers a software development kit, or SDK, though an online portal.

Ford announced it is launching a mobile app developer program enabling software developers to integrate their apps with Sync AppLink.

"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.

Ford's approach would enable app writers to integrate their iPhone or Android-based apps with Ford's Sync AppLink communications protocol.

Edmunds says: Ford and GM take a big step toward making the car the ultimate mobile device.

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