LAS VEGAS--At the start of Ford's press conference at CES 2013, Wired published a story saying the automaker would offer up its Sync AppLink technology for free to the competition. Doug VanDagens, Ford's director of connected services, who spoke during the press conference, is quoted by Wired, confirming the story.
Sync AppLink is Ford's name for the technology that supports app integration in its cars. It lets a driver load an app on a smartphone, then control it through the car's voice command and dashboard buttons, while listening to the audio output through the car's speakers.
Developers can make existing apps compatible with Sync AppLink using Ford's APIs, which include voice command hooks and interface design to appear on a Ford vehicle. Ford's offer of AppLink to competitors would widen the number of vehicles that support it, making it more likely app developers would build for it.
Whether other automakers will take the bait remains to be seen. GM has its own MyLink and IntelliLink systems, which support a degree of app integration. Likewise, Audi and BMW have developed connected services, and Toyota offers its Entune app system.