Ford announced this morning a revolutionary product offering that will not only change the face of how people drive, but also how they interact with their smartphone technology while operating a motor vehicle. Ford already has given consumers the class-leading SYNC® system and with the launch of the 2011 Ford Fiesta will now continue on that path by offering voice-controlled smartphone applications. The downloadable software upgrade, AppLink, will all drivers hands-free contol of apps on their Android or BlackBerry smartphones—iPhone users will have to wait until next year.

2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta

Now we should be clear that not all apps on your Android or BlackBerry smartphones would be able to be controlled by voice. The first apps to interface with AppLink system will include Pandora internet radio, Stitcher “smart radio” and Orangatame’s OpenBreak app for Twitter. Consumers will have to update their applications on their smartphones to include the SYNC application programming interface (API). The upgrades will be available through Android Market™ and BlackBerry App World™ portals for download. The question is, will this be an iPod like craze for developers and a major improvement in safety? Ford is betting yes.

“The growth in smartphone mobile apps has been explosive, and Ford has worked hard to respond at the speed of the consumer electronics market,” said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford’s Connected Services Organization. “SYNC is the only connectivity system available that can extend that functionality into the car. AppLink will allow drivers to control some of the most popular apps through SYNC’s voice commands and steering wheel buttons, helping drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”

According to Ford, studies have shown that mobile app development is targeted to grow into a $4 billion industry by 2012. That growth will continue into 2015 with mobile devices such as Android phones becoming the major source for Internet access by consumers. So with the launch of the 2011 Ford Fiesta, for is killing to birds with one stone: 1) changing the reputation of global small cars in the U.S. 2) providing features that you might not even find on the highest luxury brands. Not to shabby for a car starting at $13,320.

Stay tuned to for more news on the 2011 Ford Fiesta and all other small cars around the world.



[Source: Ford]