A global partnership with Spotify, announced today at Mobile World Congress, heralds a major push into Europe for Ford SYNC, the voice-activated in-car connectivity system, and Ford SYNC AppLink, which enables customers to control smartphone apps safely from the driver’s seat.
Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, research and innovation said that Ford SYNC will feature in 3.5 million Ford vehicles in Europe by 2015. Helping the company reach this target will be the all-new European version of the EcoSport. Unveiled at Congress, the Ford EcoSport is one of the first Ford vehicles in Europe to offer Ford SYNC AppLink.
The integration of the music streaming service with Ford SYNC AppLink-equipped vehicles in both Europe and North America marks Spotify’s first direct collaboration with an automotive manufacturer. With 20 million users and five million paying subscribers, Spotify is currently available in 17 European countries, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Pascal de Mul, global head of hardware partnerships, Spotify, said that AppLink will enable drivers to access Spotify songs and playlists using voice commands including: “shuffle”, “repeat”, “star/unstar track”, “choose playlist”, “play music”, “recently played”, and “now playing”.
Ford also announced that it is working with three partners on European-tailored versions of AppLink apps previously launched in the US. Kaliki Audio Newsstand provides audible playback of newspaper and magazine articles; Glympse allows Ford drivers to share their location and estimated time of arrival with friends and family; Aha uses the cloud to safely enable internet-based entertainment and information allowing drivers to search for infotainment such as social media feeds, places to eat or stay and weather.
Mascarenas also reported that the Ford Developer Program for AppLink – the automotive industry’s first open mobile app developer programme that was launched at CES in January – attracted more than 2,500 registered users within four weeks.