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Ford has launched an open developer program for its in-car infotainment system at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, making it the first car maker in the world to enable software developers to create apps for its vehicles.

The Ford Developer Program utilises the manufacturer’s Sync connectivity system and AppLink application programming interface to give developers the tools they need to create voice-activated apps designed to enhance the driving experience.

Vice president of engineering at Ford global product development, Hau Thai-Tang, said the program marked “a dramatic shift” in the way car makers could add new value and features to vehicles throughout the ownership period.

“Opening the car to developers gives consumers a direct voice and hand in the creation of apps that can help our products remain relevant, up to date and valuable to our customers,” he said.

Ford has been in a beta test with a group of developers to create a software development kit, and is now satisfied that the program is mature enough to open it up to developers around the world.

“The car presents an all-new opportunity for developers, especially the millennial market (those aged between 18-33), and we’re looking forward to seeing what results,” Thai-Tang said.

“Engaging innovators outside of the company is a key part of our strategy to be consumer-driven in all aspects of our business, helping us not only satisfy what’s going on today, but setting us up for innovative solutions to the challenges coming in the future.”

A recent Nielsen survey revealed there are more than one billion smartphone users in the world, and predicts that number will double by 2015. More than 55 billion apps have been downloaded from the leading digital markets.

A number of new AppLink-enabled apps have also been launched for Ford’s Sync-equipped vehicles in the US, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Glympse, the latter of which allows drivers to update friends and family with their expected time of arrival using a real-time tracker to display their location on a dynamic map.

Ford Australia does not currently offer AppLink functionality in its Sync-equipped Fiesta and Focus models, but has confirmed that it is working hard to bring the technology to the market in the near future.

  • Sumpguard

    They could make a lot more money if they developed their sales,service and marketing departments!  There’s not much wrong with their vehicles but I saw one single ad for the ecoboost falcon a few weeks ago . Amazing engine with no promotion. No wonder they are slipping down the sales chart!!

    • Zaccy16

      yep i agree about the falcon, it needs to be advertised more 

    • Just saying

      This story isn’t meant for Ford Australia cars. We won’t see this before Europe and the US, if ever.
      If this story turns into a typical Falcon bash then, people either have no idea, or, they just wanna start something.
      If you’re not interested, move on.

      • Joker

        One Ford would disagree with that. It will come here…might just take a while 😉

    • Deal-with-it

      Yes Ford Aus sucks big time, but globally this is a very smart decision!

  • Frostie

    It’ll probably work through Microsoft’s My Ford Sync thing.

  • Nada

    Replace the centre consol with an IPad/Tablet dock to control everything. Done.

  • svd

    The start of the need for anti virus software in your car and the ‘Windows is installing important updates – please do not shut down your car. Your car will shut down after the updates are installed’ and ‘Please restart your car. Your car needs to restart to install the new updates’

  • F1orce

    All a gimmick at best..

    Social networking, Facebook etc ect are tools for the elite to spy on the idiots.

    Apple, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft etc are Jewish owned.

    • Tony Abbotts No 1 fan

      And your point is??? or just another racist rant & drivel. Is that the best you can do? that sort of comment is unwarranted at any time, let alone here

    • AlexII

      You need to stop taking whatever you’re taking, it’s making you paranoid!

      A totally irrelevant comment and it should be deleted!

    • Sally Forth

      Just as I was beginning to think you were making some sensible and relevant comments in other posts, you come and drop this in. An irrelevant, bigoted, paranoid, ignorant, racist and stupid thing to say. You are either a troll trying to get a reaction or you really are a retard who believes the voices in your head.

      • F1orce

        Mate your the lost one. Brainwashed by general media. Why not actually use your thick head for once in a while.

        At least I acknowledge reality. Your life is probably full of blindness and ignorance.

        –Look around you and wake up.

    • DoubleBlue

       Usually you talk a load of S..T , “F1orce” BUT this comment makes a lot of sense & you guys below perhaps should listen of your own sake, Hu.

      • Tony Abbotts No1 fan

        What sense is there & to listen too. You are in the same boat as Force1 

      • AlexII

        True, what was I thinking, it all makes so much sense now! Also most of
        the car manufactures are owned by those Japs and the Krouts, they’re
        planning on invade us again and this time they will use our
        money……….people below “doom on you”.  We are funding our own down
        fall, stop buying cars!

        Honestly, grow up!

      • F1orce

        Thank you!!!

        Finally some sense from someone!

        I’m glad you understand!

    • Chest Rockjaw

      … And so what if Jewish people are possibly involved? How is that relevant to this article… Sorry, this is paranoid racist drivel.

      • F1orce

        How is claiming that certain entities are Jewish owned make me racist?

        You must be of extreme political correctness nature.


    • Garrywhopper

      Discusting racist attitude towards jewish people, typical of the middle eastern attitude, you only have to watch today tonight to see how these people are killing Australia

      • F1orce

        HaHa that’s quite ironic of you, since your profiling all Middle Eastern people. You should rejoice in your bogan environment. Falcoone lover. Actually time for you to stop grinding on that dead horse Falcoone.

        • Garrywhopper

          Well immigration to Australia needs to be stopped from certain parts of the world, if you want to live in Australia you must abandon you barbaric culture

    • Noel

      LMFAO……this coming from a person with a username and login for a website, do you think somehow the caradvice database is not connected to the Internet in any way? 

      Watch out they’re spying on you too!!!

  • Myford touch

    We would be lucky to get this by 2014, Ford need to get this sorted as We have been lagging behind the US for years on this sort of tech.
    I dont care about app link, I want the MYFORD touch system in the cars. After using it at the AIMS I want it even more.

  • Chest Rockjaw

    I would write an app that replicates the sound of an XM Falcons motor… Heritage!

  • Kwashic

    Very true that Ford’s marketing division is not up to scratch anywhere outside the US or the UK. Here in Southern Africa their marketing, customer service and backup stink (except in South Africa). So we all going mostly with Toyota. Spares for toyotas are always available even for very old ones.

  • Kwashic

    I am a Ford fan by the way… but i cant afford to be stupid and ignore the reliability, affordability and spares availability of second hand imported corollas.

  • Jack

    Hats off to Ford, especially for being a mainstream manufactuer, for embracing new technology. So long as it is properly tested and there is a rigid support network, it appears to be a great idea.

    Also to the people who have turned this into a debate about privacy/politics/religion – lets try and remember this is an automotive website – to each their own, but there are other websites/blogs to vent your frustrations about these topics.