Ford announces significant availability boost for AppLink

Ford is to roll out its SYNC AppLink service to the Ford F-Series from 2012, it announced June 22.

The announcement is a significant move from Ford to further push connected technologies to US drivers, especially given that the hugely popular F-Series has been America's best-selling model for 29 years.

It will also be available on a further nine vehicles from 2012, including the Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Fiesta, F-150, F-150 SVT Raptor, Super Duty, Expedition, E-Series and Shelby GT500.

For a system which was only launched in late 2010 for the Ford Fiesta, AppLink has proved extremely popular, with more than 84 percent of Fusion buyers opting for the package, currently available as an option.

The software allows drivers to control popular mobile apps on their phone from behind the wheel, including popular mobile apps such as Pandora Internet Radio and Stitcher, as well as Twitter application OpenBeak.

SYNC will be launched in Europe later this year with the new 2012 Ford Focus.

Ford's announcement is likely to considerably raise the availability of smartphone-connected vehicles from next year, although other major manufacturers such as Toyota and General Motors are also trying to ensure that their products (Entune and OnStar respectively) are as widely available as possible.

Earlier this year, General Motors confirmed that OnStar will be sold as an aftermarket product for any vehicle.

Ford's Doug VanDagens said "more and more drivers are using their devices and their apps while in the car," but it's still unclear whether consumers actually want to use such advanced functionality when they're behind the wheel.

The number of global light-duty vehicles equipped with internet radios is expected to jump more than tenfold over the next seven years, according to Strategy Analytics, but other connected-vehicle technology may not prove as popular.

Although safety technology and navigation are consistently popular with drivers, Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski recently told Automotive News, consumers still "aren't really interested" in social networking - one of the most popular uses for mobile phones - when in the vehicle.

http://www.ford.com

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