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Summary:

It’s not a complete realization of the Car 2.0 concept — the intertwining of vehicles, communication networks and the power grid for a smarter, greener transportation system — but it’s a start: Ford Motor announced Wednesday night at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas […]

It’s not a complete realization of the Car 2.0 concept — the intertwining of vehicles, communication networks and the power grid for a smarter, greener transportation system — but it’s a start: Ford Motor announced Wednesday night at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that it has opened up its Sync platform to let three “trusted partners” hook up their smartphone apps to vehicle controls. In addition to the students at the University of Michigan that Ford announced it was working with last month to develop demo apps, Ford has now partnered with Pandora, OpenBeak and Stitcher.

Doug VanDagens, director of connective services for Ford, told us in an interview this week that the automaker plans to roll out 3-4 Sync-enabled apps (downloaded to cell phones from existing distribution channels, like iTunes, but equipped for control via voice commands in the vehicle and steering wheel buttons) per quarter in 2010.

If cars function more like smartphones, with a web connection and an open platform on which developers can build applications, it opens the possibility for a wide and deep pool of services helping drivers better manage their use of fuel, and down the road, their battery charge.

Ford’s move to gradually open up its communications platform to third-party developers offers a glimpse of how Car 2.0 will unfold (we have an article on GigaOM Pro detailing what developers can expect from the system). Ford wants to get in on the excitement over smartphones and apps, but ahead of tools for reducing emissions and fuel consumption, it’s going for the low hanging fruit. Horoscopes, stock listings and movie listings are next in line after the three services announced Wednesday, VanDagens told us.

Yet even seemingly frivolous connections between vehicles and communication networks can mean some progress toward cleaner cars. For electric vehicles, connectivity to the web and data are “required over and above what gas engines require,” VanDagens told us last month. Apps can use data — about topography, traffic, battery and vehicle health, infrastructure availability, driving behavior — to help orient drivers in the nascent world of electric mobility, both in and out of their vehicle.

Graphics courtesy of Ford

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  1. in 2010. Ford’s move to gradually open up its communications
    it is still developing and developed further.
    Car Transport

  2. The traditional rivalry between General Motors and Ford plays out on a high-tech stage at the Consumer Electronics Show. Ford Hoping to Put a Spark in the Clean Car Initiative.

  3. Green Cars are the Platform, Now Come the Applications Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    [...] their lineup. And at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Ford announced that it had cracked open its Sync platform, allowing a handful of “trusted partners” (Pandora, OpenBeak and Stitcher) to hook up [...]

  4. Need to figure out how fuel efficient your car really is… There’s an app for that.

  5. What the iPad Could Mean for Connected Cars & Greener Transit – A Collection of Latest Happening in Technology Field Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    [...] who leads the automaker’s connected services group told us, Ford had a simple objective in opening up the Sync API to some third-party developers earlier this year: to “make Ford cars really cool” and boost vehicle [...]

  6. What the iPad Could Mean for Connected Cars & Greener Transit Thursday, April 8, 2010

    [...] who leads the automaker’s connected services group told us, Ford had a simple objective in opening up the Sync API to some third-party developers earlier this year: to “make Ford cars really cool” and boost vehicle [...]

  7. Ford Takes a Cue from the Web, Launches Developer Network Monday, April 19, 2010

    [...] Ford has kept a fairly tight grip on Sync-enabled apps so far. The automaker said in its announcement today that it’s still working with “trusted partners” to complete “beta-testing” of the SDK. Ford first announced Pandora, OpenBeak and Stitcher as its “trusted partners” to develop demonstrations of apps hooking up to vehicle controls via the Sync platform back in January, at the Consumer Electronics Show. [...]

  8. The Next Google-Microsoft Rivalry: Electric Vehicles? Thursday, May 20, 2010

    [...] has opened up its Sync platform to let “trusted partners” hook up smartphone apps with vehicle controls. Microsoft Auto supports an API set and provides a development framework [...]

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