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Ford Expands Sync AppLink Connectivity

‘More drivers are using their devices and their apps while in the car’

The trend of enabling drivers and passengers to connect their smartphones to their cars to manage entertainment choices is growing.

Ford says it’s expanding its Sync AppLink program to more models, including the popular F Series, and devoting more people to its “connectivity team.”

AppLink allows drivers to control smartphone apps (notably including Pandora) by voice. The automaker is making factory-installed Sync AppLink available on 10 models for 2012. The Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Fiesta, F-150, F-150 SVT Raptor, Super Duty, Expedition, E-Series and Shelby GT500 join the previously announced 2012 Ford Mustang as AppLink-equipped.

“We understand more and more drivers are using their devices and their apps while in the car,” stated Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services Solutions, in the announcement.

In late 2010, Ford began offering AppLink as a download on, available to 2011 Ford Fiesta owners for mobile apps such as Pandora. Later, Stitcher launched its Sync-enabled app in the Apple App Store for iPhone users. Android users will get a Sync-enabled version of Stitcher this summer, according to the automaker.

Ford points to recent studies to back its premise that drivers and passengers want the ability to have their smartphone dictate their entertainment choices, including Internet connectivity.

The company said a study by J.D. Power and Associates reports 86% of smartphone owners say they use their device while in their vehicles. A Nationwide Mutual Insurance 2010 study indicates more than one in four Americans who download smartphone apps admit to using those apps while driving.

“Ford has great expectations for AppLink as it migrates to more products and more customers, especially Fusion and F-150 owners, already avid buyers of the SYNC system,” it said. It said 84 percent of 2011 Fusions sold are equipped with Sync, with F-150 at 76 percent for the optional in-car connectivity system.

Ford promises more Sync-enabled apps soon. It lists these as available:

Apple iOS: Available at Apple App Store (V3.1.6 or higher)
Android: Available at Android Market (V1.5.3 or higher)
BlackBerry: Available at BlackBerry App World (Version 1.1.6 or higher)

Apple iOS: Available at Apple App Store (V3.1.6 or higher)
Android: Coming summer

BlackBerry: Available at BlackBerry App World (Version 1.4 or higher)