Summary:

As connected car platforms become more fragmented, Stitcher has an answer to the problem of developing for so many different vehicles. Instead of building to automaker’s in-dash APIs, it’s asking automakers to tap into its own API.

Ford Sync

Why design your app for an automaker’s connected dash API, when the automaker can just tap into your API? That’s the approach Internet news and talk radio streamer Stitcher is now taking to the growing connected car market with its increasingly fragmented number of platforms.

GM’s Chevrolet will be the first car manufacturer to use the API,with plans to build a custom version of the Stitcher user interface for MyLink in its newest Sonic and Spark models. Stitcher was one of the app pioneers in the connected car, boasting direct integration with Ford, BMW and Mercedes’ in-dash infotainment platforms.

The problem with many of those connected car implementations is that each requires custom development work for each platform supported, making updating apps and features a pain in the neck. For instance, new content such as the new Election Center Stitcher created for the political season require not only updates to the Android and iPhone apps, but also a custom reconfiguration of the software in all of its dashboard applications.

But by extending its service to carmakers through an API, that process is greatly simplified, a spokesperson for Stitcher said. Any app updates automatically replicate themselves in the connected car platform, and allows the automaker can more easily map dash and voice command controls onto Stitcher functions, she said.

The issue of fragmentation is going to become an increasingly big problem in the auto industry as the trend is for every automaker to put out their own proprietary systems. Platforms like Ford’s AppLink and Cadillac’s CUE are both ambitious initiatives, but so far they host only a handful of third-party apps.

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