CES 2013: Ford Sync AppLink Adds Compatibility with 9 New Apps; Opens Development Kits to Everyone

By Jacob Brown | January 08, 2013
Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show, Ford introduced AppLink to work through its Sync voice-activated infotainment suite, giving users access to every affiliated National Public Radio station they could ever want. Ford said it was giving development kits to other companies to use but didn't say which ones. Turns out, there were quite a few of them.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, Ford has introduced Sync AppLink compatibility with Aha Radio, Rhapsody, Kaliki, Glympse, USA Today, Greater Media, and BeCouply, among others.
Here's what they all do:
  • Aha Radio: Designed by Harman, Aha has a database of 30,000 stations that play via a cloud and are streamed through your phone. Aha works via voice commands and uses voice commands that are intuitive for driver to use and straightforward. Users can use their preset buttons or steering wheel-mounted controls to access it.
  • Rhapsody: A premium on-demand service, Rhapsody allows users to customize playlists with a database of hundreds of thousands of songs.
  • Kaliki: Its full name, Kaliki Audio Newsstand, gives you a better idea of what it does. Partnering with popular magazines and newspapers, Kaliki gives listeners and audio feed of the information that may not ordinarily be able to catch up on due to time constraints. Think of it as an audio book lite.
  • Glympse: It's a mobile tracking app. If you've been asked "Where are you?" Glympse is a quick answer to that when you're on the road. Sending to Twitter, Facebook, email, or a mobile phone, Glympse provides on-the-road travelers with an easier way to let their friends and loved ones know where they are without having to get out a phone and call or text while driving. It's all steering wheel- and voice-controlled.
  • USA Today: Updated two times a day, USA Today reads the news to listeners over the stereo.
  • Greater Media: Broadcasting 16 radio stations mostly focused in the Midwest, the stations are now available nationwide, both talk- and music-focused.
  • BeCouply: Looking for something to do tonight with your significant other? BeCouply is your smooth moves for where to take your date. Just pick a theme, and it does the rest for you. All that's missing is the requisite Luther Vandross music.
More than 1 million Ford vehicles on the road have Sync and are able to use the four new integrated apps. By downloading the apps and having them available to the driver's car controls via Bluetooth, Ford aims to increase connectivity while decreasing distracted driving. We think the automaker may be on to something here.
In addition to the apps, Ford has opened up development kits to everyone for creating new AppLink apps. Called "Sync in a box," the development kits look as though they've been taken from a Fiesta and have microphones built in. Ford says it will take no royalties or rights for any apps developed for Sync and will offer its software expertise in helping get the next big app to the market for in-car help and entertainment. Developers interested can go to https://developer.ford.com/ for more details and how to get a kit.