Ford to expand AppLink, names head of connected car efforts

At CES 2014, Ford will outline more of its connected car efforts and how it will build an owner experience using technology.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Ford on Friday said it will expand its Ford SYNC AppLink service, which allows you to control smartphone apps via voice commands, to 3.4 million more vehicles in 2014 to bring its reach to nearly 5 million cars.

applink ford

The automaker was out front with its SYNC connected car system in 2007 and in 2010 launched AppLink to bring developers into the fold. Ford is attempting to make the automobile cockpit differentiated via apps, technology and a digital lifestyle. According to Ford, 1.4 million vehicles have AppLink on the road today and more than 60 apps---Android and iOS---now allow for SYNC voice commands.

Ford will enable AppLink via a download to model years 2010 and later. AppLink is available on Sync, Sync with MyFord and Sync with Voice Navigation.

Also see: Ford's 'open platform' car: How open is 'open'?

Meanwhile, the automaker named Don Butler head of its connected vehicle and services unit. Butler, who most recently was vice president of global strategy for GM's Cadillac unit, will oversee development and planning for Ford's connected car efforts.

In the end, Ford is trying to deliver more than an auto to its customers. Ford is ultimately going for a customer "ownership experience" so it has touch points inside and outside the vehicle and can ultimately engender loyalty.

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