Commentary
4/5/2010
07:44 AM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
Commentary

Is Your Car The Next Platform?

We are already familiar with a variety of developer platforms including the iPhone, Android and now the iPad. After the demo I received from Ford last week, I started to wonder if the car is the next developer platform.



We are already familiar with a variety of developer platforms including the iPhone, Android and now the iPad. After the demo I received from Ford last week, I started to wonder if the car is the next developer platform.Just before this week's New York Auto Show, I spent some time with the Ford tech team. They provided a demo of the upcoming release of Sync Mobile App Connectivity. I've posted the demo video below. The video will show how Ford wants to interact with developers and how the software will allow mobile app developers the ability to interact with the Sync interface inside Ford cars.

In the video below, the Ford rep shows us how the Sync Mobile App Connectivity works with Pandora. Basically you can control the Pandora iPhone app using your voice inside the car. The music is played through the car speakers and when you want to change the station you hit the speak button and say, "play station Justin Bieber". Pandora has built the Ford Sync SDK into their general application available in the iTunes app store.

We also tried to take a look at a Twitter application built with the Sync SDK but it didn't load correctly. Had it worked, the app would read the Twitter messages in your stream and/or your replies and direct messages. How exciting would it be to travel to grandma for Thanksgiving and be able to listen to this:

  • I just ate a bologna sandwich - Peter R 7240
  • I am the mayor of Taco Bell - MaryLou14
  • In reply to PinkFluff24 - yes
I wonder if the apps will be able to use the 8" display on some of the Ford cars for display.

During my time with Ford we discussed how Ford makes sure that the Internet features are disabled while the car is in motion. I strongly oppose drivers recording videos or texting while driving. In fact, I believe YouTube has a responsibility to remove any videos where a driver is recording a video while driving. With the new features displayed in the demo below, the ability to lockout functionality while the car is in motion becomes even more important.

In other auto tech news, Hyundai announced that they will include a free iPad with a purchase of their new high-end sedan. My guess is that Apple will partner with an auto manufacturer in the near future. Of course Apple already has a link into Ford as apps built on the iPhone can be enhanced with the Ford developer kit -- something the Pandora app has done which I noted above.

In all seriousness, I think it's a smart move for Ford to go after developers. Going after developers is one of the things that's made the iPhone a hit (it might be the only thing) and I imagine that Ford will provide some incentives to developers to build the Ford Sync SDK into their apps.

The Ford developer website will be available later this month.

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