Developers eager to get their apps into cars can now turn to the SmartDeviceLink developer program, which launched a website today with resources for building car-compatible Android and iOS apps. Early partners in the program include Glympse, Pandora, Spotify and MLB at Bat.
SmartDeviceLink lets a car head unit show apps running on a connected phone on a dashboard LCD, complete with touchscreen controls. The car LCD shows a simplified interface for the app, making it less distracting to use while driving. SmartDeviceLink also enables voice command of the apps through the car to the connected phone.
Ford developed SmartDeviceLink and made it open source. At the beginning of this year, Toyota announced it would include SmartDeviceLink app integration in its vehicles. So far, the only vehicles supporting this app integration are Ford models equipped with Sync 3.
Ford notes that Honda, Subaru and Mazda are considering including the app integration technology in their cars.
The developer program supplies documentation that lets developers add SmartDeviceLink compatibility to their apps, but automakers hold final say whether the apps are approved for their vehicles.
Many cars now support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which make it possible to control some features of iOS or Android phones from a car's dashboard interface. However, SmartDeviceLink offers deeper integration with vehicles, giving apps the ability to read onboard information such as vehicle speed, fuel level and other data.