updated 12:00 am EST, Wed December 22, 2010
Ford Sync AppLink ready for Android, BlackBerry
Ford tonight acted on a promised upgrade to Sync and launched AppLink. The framework lets third-party smartphone apps talk to and control Sync with only the app, not the car, having to know the tasks. An updated Pandora Radio can stream audio from its 3G connection to the car, give the dash display track ID, and support thumbs up or down through spoken controls; the Twitter client OpenBeak can feed updates and read them back with text-to-speech.
Full support is available first for the 2011 Fiesta and needs a firmware update to the car from a USB flash drive. Android and BlackBerry users have access to an AppLink-aware version of Pandora today; OpenBeak is also available for the BlackBerry at the same time from OpenBeak and from BlackBerry App World soon. Either platform and app can pair up through Bluetooth. The audio news app Stitcher will add support in early 2011, and other apps should come in the future.
Along with the existing platforms, Ford added the iPhone to its AppLink support and plans to roll it out sometime in early 2011. All of the same features from other platforms will be available, although Apple's handheld will have to rely on USB instead of wireless. Pandora and Stitcher will be the first two apps to support the iPhone.