Ford Expands Sync Apps to Many Vehicles

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Finally, the Ford is expanding its Sync control over apps like Pandora—a feature called AppLink– to 10 vehicles in 2012, it announced Wednesday. To our knowledge it was only available on two vehicles as of May–the 2011 Fiesta and 2012 Mustang.

Ford expands Sync App control to many vehicles
2011 Ford F150

Cars that give you voice control over apps on your phone will include the 2012 Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Fiesta, F-150, F-150 SVT Raptor, Super Duty, Expedition, E-Series and Shelby GT500 and Mustang.

Ford also revealed that more than 84 percent of 2011 Fusions are sold with Sync radios, and 76 percent of Ford F-150’s are sold with the Sync option.

The auto maker promised again to expand the apps that work with Sync-control beyond the current Pandora, Stitcher and Twitter (Open Beak) but it offered no details except that Sync will be compatible with Stitcher on Android phones this summer. (It’s already available for the iPhone).

Ford is also expanding its team working on Sync and “Connected Services” by four fold over the next four years. Head of Connected Services Doug VanDagens, said, “….we have to have dedicated people on our team who eat, sleep and breathe consumer electronics rarified air – technical experts who not only understand current technology but have a sense for where it is headed.” Also, 2,500 developers are working on Ford apps.

Additionally, the auto maker is improving voice control in the car by teaming up with Nuance. The companies are working on new algorithms so the car radio will understand more conversational-type commands. It already understands 10,000 commands.

Ford also claims that more drivers are using Sync voice commands; 85 percent now use the feature compared to 70 percent last fall.

It also notes that 86 percent of smartphone owners admit to using the phone in the car, according to a J.D. Power study.

AppLink works with Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS devices. It will be a standard feature on the Sync for the 2012 Mustang, Fusion, F-150, Super Duty, Expedition and E-Series and will be integrated into the optional voice-activated navigation system.

Sync apps are available as follows:

Pandora
Apple iOS: Available now from Apple App Store (V3.1.6 or higher)
Android: Available now from Android Market (V1.5.3 or higher)
BlackBerry: Available now from BlackBerry App World (Version 1.1.6 or higher)

Stitcher
Apple iOS: Available now from Apple App Store (V3.1.6 or higher)
Android: Coming summer 2011

OpenBeak

BlackBerry: Available now from BlackBerry App World (Version 1.4 or higher)

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