What is AppLink?
AppLink is a suite of APIs that provide the ability for mobile developers to extend the command and control of a mobile application to the in-vehicle Human Machine Interface (HMI). AppLink transfers the normal functionality processed by touching a mobile device screen in to the familiar vehicle controls such as voice commands, steering wheel and radio buttons, and capacitive touch screens.
The applications run entirely on the mobile device without the need to install any software from the apps in the vehicle head unit. The AppLink APIs exchange program data as well as command and control information over a known transport layer allowing the SYNC system to exchange messages with any AppLink enabled application in a predetermined format. This template approach removes the burden from developers of having to recreate any UI on the vehicle display. This technology is similar to how Bluetooth devices and digital media are integrated to work on various production platforms.
What is SYNC?
SYNC is an integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system embedded in Ford and Lincoln vehicles. SYNC handles all of the commands sent from an AppLink application and delivers the intended message inside the vehicle. All UI including commands, display requests, vehicle data authorization, and responses are managed by the SYNC system on behalf of the mobile application, and communicated over AppLink.
Why Do I Want to AppLink Enable My App?
All over the world, people are using apps while in their vehicles. These apps reside on mobile devices and require some level of interaction such as locating the device, picking it up, entering a lock code, looking at the screen, tapping, swiping, or scrolling on the screen. AppLink aims to keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, removing the device interaction completely.
Users build their app habits outside of the vehicle and then want to bring these same habits with them while traveling in the car. At the same time, in-vehicle user habits such as using voice commands, knowing where the buttons are located through muscle memory, and using large visual displays when appropriate, are ingrained in drivers. AppLink is a simple way to provide users a way to bring their favorite content in to the vehicle by combining the app features with the vehicle controls.
App developers, mobile operators, handset manufacturers and auto OEMs all need to work together to find ways to ensure a responsible balance between the habits of using a mobile application and the accountability of operating a vehicle.
Ford connectivity solutions, including AppLink, work to eliminate distractions to a driver, while still allowing an appreciable level of enjoyment from the millions of apps that are used every day. We encourage you to work together with Ford in an effort to keep driver’s hands on the wheel and eyes on the road by AppLink enabling your mobile app.
I Don’t Have an App Yet, but I Have a Great Idea…
The resources on developer.ford.com are intended to provide developers the ability to AppLink enable current commercially available mobile applications. In-vehicle app usage should provide a responsible user experience that extends the command and control of habitual features within an application to the vehicle HMI.
We also understand that developers may recognize opportunities to utilize the AppLink resources to create new applications. Ford encourages new and exciting solutions in areas such as safety, entertainment, and navigation and hopes to facilitate the developer community to explore and innovate in ways that can contribute to the proud history of leading innovation and technology here at Ford.
Ford will not accept the submission of any ideas, apps, proposals, inventions, or suggestions in any way, shape or form that may indicate that Ford may include its brand, purchase an idea, intellectual property, or product from you or any supplier, vendor, partner, person or company. Please refer to your Developer Agreement to understand the ramifications of submitting any non-commercially available ideas to Ford through this site.
It is your responsibility to ensure the nature of any submissions made to Ford or posted within community areas of this site adhere to the agreement entered in to between you and Ford when you created your profile.
Should you want to submit an idea to Ford that does not include simply AppLink-enabling a third party mobile application you MUST visit here and follow all of the instructions contained therein. Ford receives thousands of ideas each year and the governance for reviewing all submissions or requests are handled at the link listed above and is not connected to developer.ford.com.
AppLink communicates only with the mobile application installed on the user’s device using the Bluetooth protocol. This means that there is no additional modem connection associated with the vehicle and the wireless network. Any network usage requirements are the responsibility of the application, the device, and the network. So any limitations that users normally encounter while using an application on a given network will still be present while connected to SYNC via AppLink.
Just as in every other use case, network coverage and signal strength will have an impact on the productivity of an application. Interfacing with a vehicle does not add or reduce any signal strength.
If an application streams audio content or requires network awareness in any fashion, the same results and limitations seen normally with in-vehicle use will be recognized when connected over AppLink.