Ford and Toyota have created the SmartDeviceLink Consortium to develop and promote an in-car smartphone application connectivity standard that will, the car makers' hope, rival the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay app mirroring technologies.
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The announcement was made at CES 2017, and other automakers that will join with Ford and Toyota as foundation members of the SmartDeviceLink partnership include Mazda, the PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen, DS), Subaru and Suzuki.

Suppliers who are on-board from the start include Elektrobit, Luxoft and Xevo, while Harman, Pioneer and BlackBerry's QNX have signed "letters of intent" to join the consortium.

According to Toyota, it plans to have its first SmartDeviceLink-capable infotainment system on the market around 2018.

Unlike many other major manufacturers, Toyota has so far yet to release any vehicles with support for either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator

The SmartDeviceLink software traces its roots back to Ford's 2013 decision to open source its AppLink application programming interface (API).

As with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, SmartDeviceLink and AppLink allows drivers and passengers to access, control and view compatible smartphone applications either via the car's touchscreen, steering wheel controls, or voice recognition.

Although Ford developed AppLink before either CarPlay or Android Auto hit the market, the blue oval brand has begun supporting the mirroring technologies with its latest Sync 3 infotainment systems.

While many new car owners have benefitted from phone, messaging, navigation and app integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, some automakers have reportedly baulked at the idea of handing over control of their infotainment interface and their data to the Silicon Valley giants.