DEARBORN, Mich., June 22, 2011
Ford makes factory-installed SYNC® AppLink™ available on 10 vehicles for 2012, expanding the reach of the award-winning software application that gives SYNC users industry-exclusive hands-free voice control capability of smartphone apps
Ford is aggressively building its team of in-car connected services experts, with plans to grow the global Connected Services Solutions Organization fourfold over the next four years, with a threefold jump for U.S. operations alone
SYNC app developer community continues to grow, now with more than 2,500 developers looking to create apps for Ford vehicles
The award-winning Ford SYNC® AppLink™ software program is migrating to a new group of 2012 Ford vehicles, giving more vehicle owners the opportunity to enjoy intuitive voice control of and access to their smartphone apps on the go.
The 2012 Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Fiesta, F-150, F-150 SVT Raptor, Super Duty, Expedition, E-Series and Shelby GT500 join the previously announced 2012 Ford Mustang as AppLink-equipped vehicles.
Plus, more mobile innovations are on the way, with additional Ford jobs planned for the company's Connected Services Solutions Organization – and 2,500 independent developers already signaling they are interested in creating more apps for Ford through the company's dedicated SYNC developer website (www.syncmyride.com/developer).
"We understand more and more drivers are using their devices and their apps while in the car," said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services Solutions. "Ford is a part of the solution, offering voice-activated options such as Ford SYNC with AppLink on a broader range of our products, which gives more customers a smarter way to access their apps while driving that keeps their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road."
The recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study reports 86 percent of smartphone owners indicate they use their device while in their vehicles. A Nationwide Mutual Insurance 2010 study indicates more than one in four Americans who download smartphone apps admit to using those apps while driving.
Adding AppLink as a factory-installed, standard feature of SYNC on a wider range of vehicles, including F-Series, America's best-selling vehicle for 29 years, puts Ford further out front in the race to integrate smartphone apps into the car, a feature vehicle owners are increasingly demanding.
Ford has great expectations for AppLink as it migrates to more products and more customers, especially Fusion and F-150 owners, already avid buyers of the SYNC system. Currently, more than 84 percent of 2011 Fusions sold are equipped with SYNC, with F-150 coming in at more than 76 percent for the optional in-car connectivity system.
VanDagens adds that the Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization, responsible for developing the company's in-car connectivity services, is also on its own accelerated growth plan to stay in step with – if not a step ahead of – how the car connects with the latest and greatest in the mobile electronics industry.
During the next four years, the global Connected Services team will grow fourfold, with a threefold jump planned for U.S. operations alone.
"Ford is committed to building systems for the vehicle environment that leverage innovation and infrastructure and are robust to the changing consumer electronics technology landscape," said VanDagens. "To do that safely, seamlessly and securely, we have to have dedicated people on our team who eat, sleep and breathe consumer electronics rarified air – technical experts who not only understand current technology but have a sense for where it is headed."
Users speak out
In late 2010, Ford began offering AppLink as a download on www.syncmyride.com, available exclusively to 2011 Ford Fiesta owners for popular mobile apps, such as Pandora® internet radio, one of the top five most used apps across all four major smartphone platforms in the U.S. according to Nielsen.
These users will continue to have more to cheer about as additional SYNC-enabled apps go live, said Julius Marchwicki, Ford SYNC product manager.
Most recently, Stitcher officially joined the fold, launching its SYNC-enabled app in the Apple App Store for iPhone users. Android users are not far behind for Stitcher, with a SYNC-enabled version of the app set to launch later this summer.
"The flexibility of the SYNC platform and software-based solutions such as AppLink give Ford a powerful blend of in-car connectivity technologies that can easily adapt to our customers' needs and what's happening in the mobile electronics industry, including the exploding world of smartphone apps," said Marchwicki. "To keep more of our customers connected, we will continue to add other SYNC-enabled apps, smartphone integrations and vehicles with factory-installed AppLink to our lineup."
Ford has a direct connection to the app developer community through its dedicated SYNC developer website where the 2,500-plus submissions from app developers looking for the Ford Software Development Kit (SDK) were made. With the SDK, developers can modify an existing app or create an all-new app that can successfully interface with Ford SYNC through AppLink. Categories under Ford consideration include:
Personalized information and news
Location-based services including navigation, traffic and business searches
Notifications and alerts leveraging the SYNC ability to mash up vehicle information, GPS locations and more, all to provide the driver with customized information and guidance
Scheduling and planning apps that could include notifications of flight status, for instance, in the event flights are delayed or rescheduled
The 2011 Edison Silver Award winner in the Transportation In-Car Driving Aid category, AppLink currently is compatible with devices using the Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS platforms. As with the 2012 Mustang, factory-installed AppLink for 2012 Fusion, F-150, Super Duty, Expedition and E-Series will come standard with SYNC, as well as be integrated into the optional voice-activated Navigation System, providing the additional convenience of a touch screen for control.
Current availability of SYNC-enabled apps:
Apple iOS: Available now from Apple App Store (V3.1.6 or higher)
Android: Available now from Android Market (V1.5.3 or higher)
BlackBerry: Available now from BlackBerry App World (Version 1.1.6 or higher)
Apple iOS: Available now from Apple App Store (V3.1.6 or higher)
Android: Coming summer 2011
BlackBerry: Available now from BlackBerry App World (Version 1.4 or higher)