Ford just can't let another year go by without introducing some sort of tweak to SYNC, and this year is no different. The company is showing off part of the SYNC extensions it described last year, AppLink. As the name implies it enables apps running on a smartphone to connect (or, you know, link) to the car itself. The posterchild is definitely Pandora. When running the standard Pandora app your phone can connect over Bluetooth to the car. When that happens you take control over the app through the car itself, with simple voice commands ("thumb up"), with buttons on the wheel (track skip), and even the preset buttons on the main console to pick any of your top 10 stations. And, yes, while doing this your phone's screen is disabled to prevent you from fiddling when you should be driving.
The demo itself unfortunately didn't go so well, with the phone timing out when attempting to load Pandora (which can be blamed on the crummy network here) and the car not correctly deciphering our voice (which can be blamed on the constant cacophany that envelops us). But, beyond those issues we were left quite impressed with the prospects here. Other compatible apps include OpenBeak and Stitcher News and compatible phones include Android and BlackBerry devices. iPhone support is coming soon, but you'll have to have a Ford Fiesta at the moment to use it, though the Mustang is next on the list. Yeah, we'd go with the latter too. Full details in the PR after the break, and we have a video demo coming shortly.
Update: Video is added!