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Ford offered this proposition to mobile developers today at CTIA’s keynote: Come up with the next set of ideas that can link the car to the Internet through innovation in applications. Derrick Kuzak, a group VP of global product development, said: “We are looking for your ideas. Right now access to the Internet in the car is only useful to passenger on iPads and laptops.”
Kuzak offered a few ideas for automobile applications. An app called Driver’s Ed 2.0 could provide alerts about hyperlocal traffic and accident information. It could also alert you about intersections and roads that are particularly dangerous based on accident history. An app called Cloud Parking could find parking spaces, reserve and pay for them. Another app, a social networking one, could let you poll your friends for a restaurant recommendation while on the road, rather than relying on the closest fast food restaurant or relying on Yelp.
Ford has published an SDK that will give developers access to APIs that will let them tailor their smartphone apps for Ford cars with Microsoft’s Sync technology inside. So far, the SDK supports BlackBerry and Android, but it will support the iPhone and Windows Phone 7 soon. Currently, apps like Pandora, Stitcher and OpenBeak have leveraged the APIs with a 1,000 other submissions. More information can be found here.
Kuzak argued that it was a really large opportunity. He said 36 percent of cellphone owners that have apps use them while commuting, and that the typical American spends three hours in a car a day.
The next generation of Ford cars coming out early next year will have technology called My Ford Touch, which includes a touchscreen on the dashboard that can connect to your smartphones. The cars also have SD card slots, USB slots for charging your phone, and the ability to connect a USB Modem to create a Wi-Fi cloud in the car. Kuzak said that the Touch technology will be in 80 percent of its vehicles in the next five years. Kuzak: “I