Ford woos app developers for AppLink
SAN FRANCISCO--Ford Motor Co. may seem an unlikely candidate for mobile app developers, but Ford Group Vice President of Product Development Derrick Kuzak took the stage last Friday at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications conference with the specific intent of attracting innovative developers for the company's AppLink program.
AppLink leverages the Ford Sync in-car entertainment and information service and makes consumers' smartphone apps available while they are driving. In fact, Kuzak announced that Ford was making the software developer kit for AppLink available to developers that are interested in building innovative apps for the AppLink program. Kuzak said the AppLink service is a natural extension for drivers because Ford's research indicates that 36 percent of cell phone owners who have apps use them while they are commuting.
Kuzak said Ford prefers letting users access their existing smartphones rather than embedding wireless into the car because they want a flexible solution that is easy to upgrade. Currently, Kuzak said that Sync is in more than 2.5 million vehicles, with 32 percent of buyers reporting that it was an important part of their buying decision.
The company is particularly interested in apps that can solve the distracted driving issue. "We can put our heads together to help technology and provide solutions for distracted driving concerns," Kuzak said.
Ford will introduce AppLink in 2011 and it will be interoperable with all smartphones and operating systems, including the Apple iPhone OS. Developers who are interested can send ideas to synchmyride.com/developer.