Among all the new tablets and smartphones at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Vegas are a few cars, and Ford knows that it needs apps to grab the attention of younger, ‘connected’ car-buyers.
Thanks to SYNC and the AppLink platform, Ford is allowing app developers to make programs that can interface directly with its vehicles, and change the driving experience.
“The car presents an all-new opportunity for developers, especially the millennial market, and we’re looking forward to seeing what results,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s VP of Engineering. “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.”
Ford is hoping to bring in app developers by implementing a development strategy similar to Google, Apple and Facebook. App developers can now be a part of a development community, and can get access to a Ford specific software development kit to make apps.
“The Ford Developer Program marks a dramatic shift in how we will innovate new features and add value to our vehicles throughout the ownership period,” said Thai-Tang. “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.”
Already this initiative has resulted in some impressive apps that are on display at CES. Categorized in three main areas, these apps should be available for Ford vehicles very soon.
News and Information:
Wall Street Journal – This app will provide interactive news and radio programming as well as on-demand information to WSJ content.
USA Today – With this app, users will get 24/7 access to USA Today radio content as well the ability to pause, play, skip and go back and forth between stories.
Kaliki – Choose which newspaper or magazine you want to listen to on your commute or road-trip. Kaliki already has a wide selection of magazines to listen to like Shape Magazine, TV Guide, Men’s Fitness, OK! and Agence France-Presse. Local Newspapers are also available, and all content is subscription free.
Music and Entertainment:
Amazon Cloud Player – Users of Amazon’s Cloud Player can now listen to their music collection streamed from Amazon’s servers.
Aha Radio – Drivers will get access to over 30,000 stations of Internet content including radio, on-demand music services, news, entertainment, podcasts, audiobooks and social feeds.
Rhapsody – America’s top subscription service is now available to use, giving access to millions of songs, radio stations and playlists.
Greater Media – This app will let drivers listen to any live radio station across the U.S.
Navigation and Location:
BeCouply – Out, but don’t have anywhere special to go? BeCouply will provide date night ideas.
Additionally, Ford is targeting other markets like China with Seibo’s microblogging service in Asian markets.
For innovators who have a good idea, but don’t know how to make it an app, Ford has recommended jacAPPS, who is Ford’s recommended mobile app development house for the Ford Developer Program.
“We have turned the car into a development platform with extensive opportunities to continue to add value through new features delivered at the speed consumers now expect,” said global director of Ford Connected Services, Doug VanDagens. “With more than 1 billion smartphones now in service around the world, we expect mobile connectivity will continue to grow in importance.”
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