The new addition to the system allows drivers to navigate mobile apps on a device using Bluetooth (no data plan required) to connect to the vehicle's controls or voice commands—starting with the 2011 Fiesta, with all Ford and Lincoln models to follow eventually. While the initial launch supports programs developed for BlackBerry and Android platforms, a version coming this fall will include Apple's too.
Along with apps such as Pandora, Stitcher and OpenBeak (for Twitter), which will all work for this debut, Ford is also introducing the Mobile Application Developer Network. The community platform for outside developers invites them to work with Ford on creating new compatible applications, also ensuring that competing standards don't unnecessarily proliferate.
Another new bonus, working with Seattle's transportation software firm Airbiquity, Ford's Sync system can now also transmit data over the mobile voice network, including monitoring of GPS data, fuel economy and odometer reading. For example, a driver using the system to call Sync Services for directions receives answers based on real-time traffic information. Once it locates the data, the system sends that information to the car and reads it aloud. If the driver veers off the path, the system automatically redials Sync Services to reroute.
The Sync system (necessary to run the free AppLink) starts at $395 as an add-on to several models, see a Ford dealer for purchasing.