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GM sponsors connected car hackathon ahead of CES 2013

At the AT&T Developer Summit Hackathon this weekend, GM will sponsor the Connected Car Challenge, encouraging developers to build apps useful in the car.

Chevy MyLink interface
Chevy's new MyLink interface, launching in the Impala this year, adopts a smartphone aesthetic. GM

Steve Ballmer famously chanted "Developers, developers, developers!" in 2000, and automakers have finally heard the call. GM will take part in AT&T's Developer Summit Hackathon this weekend, sponsoring a new Connected Car Challenge.

Developers at the Hackathon will have from noon Saturday until 2 p.m. Sunday to build their apps. Winners will be announced at 6 p.m. on Sunday, and some finalists will be selected to pitch their apps on stage during the Summit's keynote addresses on Monday.

AT&T says there will be more than $100,000 in cash and prizes at the Hackathon, including a Chevy Volt. Participants in the Connected Car Challenge can use AT&T's APIs and developer resources to build their apps.

In a press release, Mary Chan, GM's Global Connected Consumer vice president, said "We're particularly interested in apps and services that enhance the overall driving experience, vehicle ownership and uniquely leverage information about the vehicle."

GM has begun to launch app integration with its MyLink and IntelliLink systems for Chevy and Buick, although these systems integrate existing apps as connected services. The latest version of MyLink, which uses an interface similar to a smartphone, will come out in the Chevy Impala later this year.

Ford has sponsored two previous challenges at the TechCrunch Hackathon, the most recent in September, with developers using the Sync AppLink APIs to build apps compatible with Ford vehicles.

The AT&T Hackathon takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas, just before CES 2013 takes over the city.