Ford Opens Up SYNC To Any Interested Party

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
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ford opens up sync to any interested party

Ford will be giving away its SYNC AppLink to any automaker or Tier 1 supplier, as it looks to make SYNC the standard for in-car connectivity systems.

By opening up the SYNC API (or Application Programming Interface) to other parties, Ford is hoping to ensure that SYNC becomes the dominant system, similar to how Google’s Android has entrenched itself as the leading mobile OS.

Wired Magazine’s Damon Lavrinc adroitly explains the significance of Ford’s announcement, and the impact it will have on the future of in-car infotainment

Every automaker features a different consumer-facing platform, so developers must work with a variety of APIs and SDKs[software development kits]. It’s annoying but doable for a massive outfit like Pandora, but damn near impossible for small developers. That’s where AppLink comes in. By offering AppLink to any automaker or Tier 1 supplier (the folks who build the hardware) and providing a universal API and SDK, Ford expands an app’s footprint across the industry and brings more developers into the Ford fold.

Of course, there are drawbacks; auto makers would have to cede control, moving from the systems they’ve spent time and money on, to one created by Ford. Bringing a competitor’s product into another OEM’s vehicle could also present a problem if an infotainment system has to have connectivity with something like a vehicle diagnostic system – as Lavrinc points out, that’s a boundary that no OEM is willing to tamper with.

On the other hand, there’s the less open approach that GM is taking, whereby it is making an SDK available for anyone interested in designing apps. This is more akin to Apple’s iOS system, and affords GM more control

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jan 09, 2013

    From an IT professional, cars should not be computers, period. Its one thing for fuel injection, traction control, etc, but quite another when the whole car is controlled by a microprocessor. Just asking for trouble.

    • See 12 previous
    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Jan 11, 2013

      @redav No idea! My old-fashioned heater still uses a pilot light. I'm hoping those simple ones don't get banned before it needs replacing. They're less than half the cost, too. I installed that one myself for a total cost of around $300.

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Jan 09, 2013

    Does Fords approach mean that there will be no Siri interface button on the wheel?

  • 86SN2001 86SN2001 on Jan 09, 2013

    So basically Ford is saying that they made crap, and needs outside programmers to do the job right. Sounds exactly like Ford.

    • See 6 previous
    • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Jan 10, 2013

      @Ronnie Schreiber Apple almost never supplies its source code, even under legal penalty for not doing so. Android, OTOH, is an open-source app with everything being public domain.

  • Solracer Solracer on Jan 10, 2013

    Will they give me a copy of the source code so I can rewrite it to actually work correctly? I'm getting real tired of having to pull the Sync fuse every two months on my Fiesta because it runs out of memory.

    • Tresmonos Tresmonos on Jan 10, 2013

      Ask for SYNC v4.2 release. It should fix the memory leak relating to the media player.