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Ford will connect your phone's navigation app to Sync 3

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Ford's new connected car system hasn't hit the streets yet but it's already announcing future upgrades. This week during the North American International Auto Show it said the third version of AppLink -- a set of APIs that let mobile apps work with the car's systems and controls -- will come to Sync 3, and the headline feature is that users can bring their phone's navigation software to the car's screen. Instead of bringing full mobile features to its system with Android Auto, CarPlay or MirrorLink, Ford's system uses its controls to interact with mobile apps and data on the phone. AppLink 3.0 won't ship until some point after Sync 3 actually rolls out, but hopefully by then Ford has negotiated compatibility with navigation for popular apps from the likes of Google, Apple and Waze. If you want to know a bit more about why Ford set up the new system the way it did (and what owners of older Sync systems can expect), you should check out our CES interview with Connected Vehicle and Services Executive Director Don Butler, which is embedded after the break.

In Conversation with Don Butler

Right now, the only announced partner is China's Alibaba, which will make its AutoNavi software work with the SmartDeviceLink open source standard Ford is pushing for all automakers and their suppliers. According to Butler, Ford's new system will be easier for drivers to use without distraction, and easy for developers to implement, with a number of new partners signed up already. We're just waiting for it to be available (in cars like the Ford GT, pictured above), but we'll have to see if it is competitive with competitors who are more willing to hand over their in-car experience to Apple and Google.

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