Carmakers let app developers drive innovation
As General Motors and Ford commissioned ideas from app makers this week, the possibilities for what you can do with your vehicle's steering wheel buttons, microphone, speakers and internal gauges are quickly expanding.
How would you like to choose your favorite tune by simply uttering the song's title, turn your car into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, or respond to an ad you hear on the radio without lifting a finger?
At the International CES show, General Motors and Ford launched programs that will open their designs to developers, inviting them to create software applications for future car models. It's a relatively new strategy for car makers, but one that many gadget manufacturers employ, including Apple, which did it for the original iPhone in 2007.
The programs free the automakers from having to keep pace with new technologies by tying the functionality of their cars' internal systems to advances in smartphones.
Ford Motor Co.'s app developer program, called Sync AppLink, "is a way for (the company) not to worry about the next big app,'' said product manager Julius Marchwicki.
General Motors Co. said its framework "gives developers a whole new sandbox, with wheels.''
In some ways,
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