The all-new EcoSport compact SUV will be among the first Ford vehicles in Europe to offer SYNC AppLink, Ford announced at the 2013 Mobile World Congress technology conference.
Ford also announced that Spotify – the leading music streaming service that provides on-demand access to a catalogue of more than 20 million songs globally – is the first music service provider to be confirmed as a Ford SYNC AppLink partner for Europe.
“SYNC AppLink opens up a whole new world of content to Ford customers that they can access on the move by voice control while keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation. “As one of the World’s most popular music streaming services, Spotify is the perfect partner to demonstrate the benefits of the Ford SYNC AppLink system.”
Ford SYNC AppLink will enable customers to control smartphone apps from the driver’s seat as part of Ford SYNC, the voice-activated in-car connectivity system that will feature in 3.5 million Ford vehicles in Europe by 2015.
Spotify is the largest and most successful music streaming service of its kind, available in 17 European countries, and with more than 20 million active users and five million paying subscribers around the world. AppLink will enable drivers to access Spotify songs and playlists using voice commands including: “shuffle”, “repeat”, “star/unstar track”, “choose playlist”, “play music”, “recently played”, and “now playing”.
The integration of Spotify with Ford SYNC AppLink-equipped vehicles in both Europe and North America marks the company’s first direct collaboration with an automotive manufacturer making the streaming music service available in the car.
“Spotify brings you the right music for every moment; on your computer, your mobile, your tablet, your home entertainment system; and soon also in your Ford vehicle,” said Pascal de Mul global head of hardware partnerships, Spotify. “Our partnership with Ford AppLink will enable music-loving drivers to enjoy access to Spotify’s huge catalogue of more than 20 million tracks safely, while on the road.”
In addition, Ford partnerships with Kaliki, Glympse and Aha will offer the following services to Ford drivers in Europe:
Kaliki Audio Newsstand – provides audible playback of newspaper and magazine articles with radio-talent voices and is expanding to offer European language content from news sources such as Agence France-Presse and entertainment titles such as Public and Première
Glympse – allows Ford drivers to share their location and estimated time of arrival with friends and family, all in real-time on a dynamic map, directly from their vehicle using simple voice commands
Aha – delivers more than 30,000 stations of audio entertainment and information to the car, allowing drivers to safely access web-based music, news, their Facebook and Twitter feeds, personalised restaurant recommendations and hotels, weather reports and much more
“The news that Kaliki, Glympse and Aha will also deliver Europe-tailored versions of the AppLink compatible apps previously announced for North America offers a snap-shot of the range of services Ford AppLink customers in Europe will be able to enjoy,” Mascarenas added.
Ford launched the Ford Developer Program – the automotive industry’s first open mobile app developer programme – for AppLink at the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas, attracting more than 2,500 registered users within four weeks. The programme encourages app developers around the globe to create their own SYNC voice-control apps for services from connected smartphones. It will allow the European app development community to deliver an array of music and entertainment services.