Ford has announced that it will introduce SYNC AppLink, a component of the SYNC infotainment and connectivity system that offers voice control of smart phone apps, on a global scale. By association, the announcement means that Ford will also roll out SYNC to Ford vehicles outside of North America, starting with the all-new B-MAX.
Currently, SYNC is available or standard equipment on every Ford vehicle in North America and SYNC AppLink is available on ten of those vehicles. AppLink is compatible with the following apps:
- Stitcher – a mobile app for streaming radio shows and podcasts directly to smart phones
- TuneIn – an app allowing users to access live local and global radio on the move
- iHeart Radio – an app that allows users to access over 800 radio stations across America
- Slacker Radio – an app that controls personalised music and information content through free and subscription radio services
- OpenBeak – an app that allows users to have Twitter updates read out to them
- Pandora – An app that allows users to voice-activate their Pandora Internet radio stream including pausing and skipping songs
- Scout by TeleNav – a new daily personal navigator that allows drivers to easily and efficiently navigate their commutes, run errands, and discover places around them.
- SYNC Destinations powered by INRIX – a free app for SYNC Services users that combines with SYNC AppLink to deliver quick, on-the-go, voice-controlled access to the latest traffic reports and forecasts, travel times, turn-by-turn directions and destination downloads
Since SYNC and SYNC AppLink — which Ford co-developed with Microsoft — rely on voice commands (“SYNC: Please Say Your Command”) and dictation (“Call Madonna on Cell”), the system needed to be updated to understand and deliver messages in more languages, including UK English, EU French, EU Spanish, EU Portuguese, German, Italian, Turkish, Dutch and Russian. With the global rollout of SYNC and SYNC AppLink, Ford has added these languages to the system.
However, it seems that AppLink won’t be part of the initial roll-out of SYNC in markets outside of North America, as the press release states that Ford “will announce when AppLink will be part of SYNC”. Nevertheless, it’s good to know that our friends across the pond will soon be able to enjoy safe, hands-free voice-activated in-car connectivity in the near future. How’s that for a global development strategy?