As expected, Ford has announced its next-generation SYNC AppLink system at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). With simpler menus, enhanced voice control and other new capabilities, the new system will give drivers “easier access to new features from many of their favorite mobile apps while on the go”.
New features include:
- Simpler in-vehicle menus and controls so drivers can launch apps on their mobile device more quickly by pressing the SYNC voice button on the steering wheel and just saying the name of the app without having to say the command “Mobile applications” first.
- Apps can get access to a variety of real-time vehicle data such as speed, acceleration, odometer and location that can be used by the connected app to further customize and personalize the user experience. For example, access to the in-vehicle GPS signal can enable more precise and accurate location-based services than phone sensors.
- A more consistent user experience due to voice pass-through capability, which enables developers to use the on-device or cloud-based voice recognition systems to evaluate commands given by the driver. This means drivers can use the same set of voice commands to control the app when connected to the vehicle as they would when not connected to the vehicle.
- Notifications that can be read aloud to drivers as they come in without ever touching the phone. Best of all, alerts are available anytime a mobile device is connected to SYNC AppLink, even if the app is not currently active or the driver is listening to the radio.
Originally having made its debut in 2010, SYNC AppLink turns a vehicle’s microphones and integrated buttons — such as the ones on the steering wheel and center stack — into a remote control of applications running on a smartphone, all in the name of allowing drivers to interact with apps while keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. The enhanced version of SYNC AppLink will be standard on the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang and will later be rolled out to the rest of the Ford product lineup.
News of the next-gen SYNC AppLink coincides with Ford’s announcement of a developers conference for the system in June, and closely follows another announcement outlining the automaker’s plans to enable AppLink to run on an additional 3.4 million vehicles this year.