i2Integration has been helping mobile developers create and deploy apps to Ford vehicles for years. Now i2Integration is using the same Ford Developer Program tools and resources they created to build an in-car app for Ford. With it, the Ford App Catalog will soon allow millions of customers with Ford SYNC3 vehicles to discover, download and install new apps through their Ford infotainment system.
According to Technical Solutions Manager Deb Babbitt, Ford drivers will be able to use voice commands to find out which of their mobile apps work with SYNC. Better yet, the Ford App Catalog will be able to tell them proactively, highlighting available apps with customizable in-car push notifications.
Babbitt said the new App of the Month feature in the Ford App Catalog will give Ford the ability to promote different partner apps on different mobile platforms and in different countries—so iOS users in Germany could see a different promoted app than German Android users, or French iOS users.
This new visibility adds great value for developers, for Ford and for users themselves. But drivers' eyes should be on the road, so there's another new feature that keeps drivers' focus where it needs to be.
"Ford safety guidelines won't allow you to download an app while you're driving, so there's a safety concept we created called the Wish List," Babbitt said. "So, if you're notified of the App of the Month and you like it but you're driving, it won't allow you to download it—but it will put it in your Wish List. When you leave the vehicle, it will remind you that you liked this app and you may want to download it."
Enabling the App Catalog inside the vehicle has long been a goal of the Ford Developer Program. With the capability of SYNC3 and the rapidly increasing number of Ford vehicles equipped with them, the time was right for i2Integration to fully integrate (pun intended!) themselves into the connected car.
"For years now, we’ve been building the tools to allow developers to build apps that operate in Ford vehicles," i2Integration CEO John Forsberg said. "With our latest project of allowing the Ford App Catalog to operate in the Ford vehicle, we’re now in the very cool and unique position of being on the other side of the fence–of being the very developers we support. Or maybe a better way of saying it is that we’re now on both sides of the fence, which will give us the ideal insight to make both sides even better."