DETROIT — The new version of Ford's AppLink, which allows control of iOS and Android smartphone apps through a vehicle's infotainment system, will for the first time work with a user's favorite navigation app.
As previously reported by Edmunds, the latest incarnation of the Ford in-car electronics interface, called Sync 3, will launch later this year with a number of improvements over the previous version, including a more logical screen layout, larger fonts and updated software.
Now Ford has announced that the revamped AppLink 3.0 has been designed to allow the projection of moving graphics, such as those found on smartphone navigation apps, onto the dashboard touchscreens in Ford vehicles.
"With each new version of AppLink, we're improving the in-car experience with better integration of smartphone apps and easier ways for customers to access and control the content they love," said Joe Beiser, Ford's director of connected services for Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa, in a statement. "The next version, AppLink 3.0, leverages open-source SmartDeviceLink functionality to give developers a method to project graphics — such as maps — onto our vehicle touch screens."
SmartDeviceLink is an open-source project whose goal is to standardize in-vehicle interfaces, provide an expandable framework for both software developers and automakers, and ultimately make life easier for both industry professionals and users.
Ford says it is working on the project with global consumer Internet service Alibaba to extend that company's map, navigation and music services into vehicles. As a result of the collaboration, SmartDeviceLink has been integrated into Alibaba's navigation app, called AutoNavi, as an example of how moving graphics from a smartphone app can be projected onto a car's touchscreen.
According to Ford, the new Sync 3 will be available on all 2016 models, but initially it will come with the current version of AppLink, which allows for the projection of static images only.
Alan Hall, technology communications manager for Ford, told Edmunds: "AppLink 3.0 will launch as part of a future software update for Sync 3 coming in calendar year 2016."
Hall added that the new system will be available on all Ford vehicles equipped with Sync 3.
Edmunds says: The new AppLink 3.0 is good news for consumers who like the navigation apps on their smartphones and want to use them on the road.