Ford opens SYNC app development

Ford has introduced a free tool for smartphone app developers aimed at making it easy and cost-efficient to develop in-car apps compatible with the company’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system.

With more than 15 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on roads around the world today and 43 million expected by 2020, Ford claims ‘embracing the global developer community and opening the door to innovation are critical aspects of our mission.’

Downloadable from the Ford Developer Program website, SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator is a software programme that helps developers create AppLink-enabled apps by allowing them to test how their app will look and work on a SYNC 3 interface – without access to an actual vehicle.

‘The SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator makes app development far more accessible to the developer community,’ said Dave Hatton, manager of mobile app development, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. ‘We expect this tool to open the door to a host of new and exciting car-friendly apps from developers, both big and small, around the world.’

The emulator allows a smartphone to connect to the developer’s computer – just like it would normally connect to SYNC 3. The software platform then mimics SYNC 3 by connecting to the app running from the developer’s phone. The user fine-tunes the look and functionality of the app, then can instantly see how the created features would appear on the in-vehicle touch screen.

The software allows developers to set certain conditions – such as vehicle speed, location, temperature and mileage – to test how the app responds to each. These customisable settings empower developers to make apps that deliver more personalized experiences for customers.