Ford Announces First Apps Compatible with AppLink for SYNC 3

Ford LogoFord was the first to bring voice control to in-vehicle apps when AppLink launched for the first generation of SYNC in 2010. The voice control, of course, makes it safer for drivers to select apps while they are driving. Now, Ford is announcing the first smartphone apps to be compatible with AppLink for SYNC 3.

The integration of voice control to in-vehicle apps has been improved with SYNC 3, delivering an experience that is faster, more responsive, and user friendly. AppLink discovers compatible apps on your smartphone and projects their information, including unique graphics and branding on the touch screen display in your vehicle. There are three apps that Ford is highlighting that are compatible with AppLink.

The first one is Spotify, which delivers over 30 million songs at the touch of a button and the sound of your voice. In Ford and Lincoln models equipped with SYNC 3, users can control the Spotify App running on their Apple or Android smartphones from the driver’s seat using voice control. Using Ford AppLink, Spotify Premium, and Free subscribers can choose their playlists synced across any device, toggle shuffle, save tracks to their music collection, and much more, all hands-free. Users also have access to playlist, album artwork, and track information in rich full color display on the SYNC 3 touch screen.

Pandora is also being highlighted. With Pandora on SYNC 3, great music discovery is effortless and personalized. Pandora’s team of over 30 music analysts examines 400 attributes in each song to find the perfect track for you and your journey. Customize your stations even further by thumbing up and thumbing down directly from the dashboard of your Ford vehicle.

The third app being highlighted is Glympse, the pioneer in time-based, temporary location sharing. Users can simply share their current location and estimated time of arrival. Using SYNC 3’s touchscreen interface, drivers can easily send, add time or expire an existing Glympse, and receive a push notification when a sent Glympse has been viewed, which keeps the driver’s eyes on the road.

The all-new SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system debuts this summer in North America on the 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta. Pandora, Spotify, and Glympse are among the first apps to take advantage of the new capabilities of SYNC 3; additional AppLink-enabled apps will continue to roll out as SYNC 3 becomes available this summer.

A Look Inside the 2015 Ford Edge

2015_ red edge
There’s no doubt that 2015 is going to be a huge year for advancements in car technology, and Ford is leading the race with the all new 2015 Ford Edge. The Edge is packed with innovations in performance, safety, utility, and entertainment.

The 2015 Edge is outfitted with several new features to help you keep track of your vehicle’s position and prevent collisions, both while in motion and while parking. Ford’s lane-keeping technology senses the vehicle’s position in traffic and alerts the driver to steer back into the correct lane if it has drifted. The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®), which warns you when another vehicle enters your blind spot, and a 180-degree front camera has been added in addition to the standard rear camera to give drivers additional coverage. Ford has also made parking easier with a cross-traffic radar alert system to warn drivers of oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking spot, as well as an enhanced active park assist system that helps to guide your vehicle into and out of parallel parking spaces.

The 2015 Edge introduces several new and improved safety features, including glove box knee airbags to cushion the knees of the front passenger in the event of a collision; inflatable rear safety belts to reduce head, neck, and chest injuries; and AdvanceTrac®  and curve control sensors that measure the roll rate of the vehicle and adjusts engine torque and brake pressure of all four wheels to give the driver better control of the vehicle.  The 2015 Edge also has heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel to make the driving experience more comfortable for everyone.

One of the most noteworthy features of Ford’s recent vehicle lineup is Ford Sync. The 2015 Edge is equipped with Ford Sync with MyFord Touch lets you effortlessly connect your smartphone to your vehicle via Wi-fi to give you in-car, voice-activated access to your music, apps, navigation, and more, right from your car dashboard. Ford Sync is now available for even more trim levels, making these exciting new innovations even more accessible.

Powered by Ford’s new 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine, the 2015 Ford Edge Sport is even more powerful than the previous 3.7-liter V6 model, with a 25 percent increase in torque, giving the Edge Sport an incredible total of 315 horsepower for ultimate speed and performance power.

The 2015 Edge Sport boasts an improved suspension with high-strength boron steel antiroll bars that are 26 percent stiffer against bending forces and 14 percent stiffer against twisting forces. Comfort and performance is further enhanced with the new electric power-assisted steering system, which improves both steering and parking by 30 percent. This makes for a smoother, quieter ride for both everyday commuting and open-road adventures.

The 2015 Ford Edge and the 2015 Ford Edge Sport will be available starting this spring. The 2015 Edge starts at $28,100, and the 2015 Edge Sport starts at $38,100.

2015 Ford Edge Sport is Highest Performing Edge Yet

2015-EdgeThe 2015 Ford Edge Sport has a lot to offer drivers no matter what they consider to be the most important aspects of a vehicle. It is a utility vehicle that looks beautiful. It also has been officially SAE-certified as the most powerful Edge ever, with the highest horsepower and torque ratings yet.

The new Edge has a stronger, more athletic, shape. It has standard LED tail lamps and LED signature lighting. The vehicle comes in new colors: Electric Spice, Bronze Fire Metallic, and Magnetic.

Inside the 2015 Ford Edge Sport you will find leather-trimmed sport seats with perforated suede inserts, aluminum brake and accelerator pedal covers, and metal-plated accents throughout the vehicle. It has ambient lighting.

The new Ford Edge Sport also includes Ford SYNC with 8-inch touch screen in the center stack. You will find two LCD screens in the instrument cluster (both of which are configurable). In addition, it also has a media hub that contains 2 USB ports, an SD card reader and an auxiliary input jack. A 12-speaker Sony audio system is standard in the 2015 Ford Edge Sport.

Ford’s newest EcoBoost engine, a 2.7-liter V6, powers the 2015 Ford Edge Sport. It delivers a small increase in horsepower over the previous standard engine (which was a 3.7-liter V6). The EcoBoost engine also gives a 25 percent increase in torque over the previous engine. Together that gives the 2015 Ford Edge Sport a total of 315 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. The cylinder block of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost uses the same compacted graphite iron as Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke.

The Edge Sport suspension has been upgraded with front and rear antiroll bars that are 15 percent stiffer than the base model. Enhanced damping gives Edge Sport improved road-holding capability and provides the driver with more control, sharper steering, and greater confidence.

The front-wheel-drive Edge Sport returns EPA-estimated test cycle fuel economy ratings of 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. The EPA-estimated ratings for the all-wheel-drive model are 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.

The 2015 Ford Edge and the 2015 Ford Edge Sport go on sale in the Spring of 2015. The new Ford Edge starts at $28,100. The new Ford Edge Sport starts at $38,100.

Ford SYNC 3 at CES

Ford LogoIn the good old days, cars had heaters and radios. if you were lucky it might have had a cassette player. Getting directions involved winding down the window and asking a local. Today’s vehicles have zoned environmental controls, multi-source AV, GPS with maps and drive train telemetry to three decimal places. All this is fantastic but while you’re figuring out the way to San Jose, you don’t have your eyes on the road.

Ford wants its drivers and passengers to have a great journey but to get to their destination safely, and in an unprecedented move, Ford invited customers to their advanced car simulator in Dearborn to help design the next iteration of their infotainment system. With over 20,000 pieces of feedback, Ford developed SYNC 3 with safety and ease of use at the fore. Big touchpoints keep hands on the steering wheel longer and voice commands now produce what the driver wants rather than purely what is said.

Todd chats with Gary from Ford about the company’s approach to the latest iteration of Ford SYNC, which will be available on 2016 model cars.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network

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Ford Electric Concept Car

Ford LogoTodd takes a look at Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi concept car, which amongst other things, features a solar panel roof that uses a special light concentrator lens similar to a magnifying glass to improve the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells. Ford reckons that a day’s worth of sunshine is enough to charge the hybrid’s battery, which is good for 21 electric-only miles.

This is good news for the environment as it would reduce yearly carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions from the average US car by as much as four metric tons – the equivalent of what a American house produces in four months. This probably assumes a perfect sunshine record and maximum electric mileage each day, but, hey, every little bit helps.

Review by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Livio talks about its apps for cars

livioLivio, a company recently acquired by Ford, produces apps designed to work in cars — a technology that Ford obviously has a great deal of interest in. If you aren’t familiar with the company, it produces a library and developers can use this within their apps, which can then interact with the software, also produced by Livio, that is installed in the car stereo system.

Livio discussed its plans for moving forward in 2014, which, despite its new owner, include plans for an open format that all can use. A standard that will work in Ford, GM and other autos. The proposed standardization would benefit everyone if the company can pull it off. You can learn more by watching the video below.

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Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor

Ford Sync comes to millions of more drivers

Ford_logoThose driving certain late-model Ford cars and trucks can enjoy a lot of in-vehicle technology. But, millions more will soon be able to get this experience as well.

In conjunction with next week’s CES in Las Vegas, the company announces “Building on the pioneering SYNC in-car connectivity system it launched in 2007, Ford Motor Company today announces new system investments and organizational alignments to deliver the industry’s best fully integrated connected car and digital consumer experience”.

More than one-million vehicles equipped with SYNC AppLink are on the road today, and another 3.4 million vehicles — model year 2010 and newer — will be eligible to download AppLink later this year.

Ford Debuts Solar Energy Hybrid Vehicle at CES

Ford Go FurtherWhen we think of hybrid vehicles, what comes to mind is a car that uses both gas and electricity. Ford has come up with something new.

The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept is the first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle. It is a hybrid vehicle that does not depend on a connection to the electric grid for fuel.

The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept uses a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass. It directs rays from the sun onto solar panels that have been placed on the roof of the vehicle. As someone who lives in “sunny California”, I am very interested in Ford’s new idea.

Right now, the Ford C-Max Solar Energy Concept is a concept vehicle (as you may have guessed from the name). It takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance that one would get from Ford’s conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid (which draws power from the electric grid). The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept uses renewable energy from the sun.

A quick look at the stats about the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid will give you a good idea of what the C-Max Solar Energy Concept is expected to be able to do. The C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway (which is a combined 100 MPGe).

The C-Max Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions that a typical vehicle owner would produce by four metric tons. Ford has data that suggests that the sun could power up to 75% of all trips made by the average driver of a solar hybrid vehicle.

You can check out Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi Concept at the 2014 International CES. They will be at the Ford book (LVCC North Hall #2222).

Microsoft Loses Top Engineer as they Scramble for CEO Closure

MicrosoftLast week I was at Ford for a press event. I got to talk directly to Ford CEO Alan Mulally (he was interested in my Google Glass). I didn’t ask about the Microsoft offer because that was covered in the press bombardment earlier — which he side-stepped the answer. But now, Microsoft is facing a new issue as a top Microsoft engineer Blaise Agüera y Arcas has announced he is joining Google. Will more follow?

Blaise has been with Microsoft since 2006 when his company (Seadragon) was acquired. Arcas was a lead software architect on Bing Maps photosynth software. In a blog post confirming his departure, Arcas said this was “The hardest decision of my life.”

Writings on the Wall?

Alan-Mulally-FordIf Mulally doesn’t head to Microsoft, the company will be in a very bad spot for the start of 2014. Most other CEO avenues have been closed up – most recently Steve Mollenkopf of Qualcomm as he accepted the CEO role there. With Microsoft being the world’s largest software maker, you don’t want to have an unidentified road map coming into Q1.

Add to that the bad year that Microsoft had. Windows 8.1 was lack-luster, the Surface tablet was not what they expected in sales, and phone sales are not even competing with the iPhone. Even the XBox One is having a hard time catching up to PS4 sales.

So with all this data, how will other employees react? Will we start to see a ship jump as the month goes on?

If Microsoft can’t get a CEO that can handle the job by January, we could start seeing employees sprucing up their resumes. Other names in the CEO hunt are former Skype CEO Tony Bates and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.

Some have even suggested Bill Gates come back and help in these questionable times. If the other avenues turn to be dead ends, would Gates come back?

In the meantime, reports of Ford hosting their own analyst meeting to figure out the direction if Mulally steps down. There are rumors he could step down as Ford CEO even if he doesn’t take the role at Microsoft. CFO Bob Shanks will address those issues next week.

Ford Acquires Software Developer Livio for In-Dash App Connection

Livio Connect API

Livio Connect API

Ford has been the innovator on connected in-dash infotainment since they first announced their new systems in 2007. So now with all the other car companies coming up fast on in-app systems, Ford needs to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Today, they have continued their strength with purchasing Livio for an undisclosed sum, but less than 10 million dollars.

Livio is a company which links applications for iOS, Android and Blackberry to your car. Livio takes the devices Programming interfaces and makes sure they can talk to the Ford Sync system. Livio created Sync Applink for just that purpose.

Ford_logoFord is also getting a product that is an industry standard. This would give app creators a single platform to work with, resulting in faster development of higher quality apps. Consumers – in turn – would have a safe way to access digital content on the go.

“With the additional expertise Livio provides us, Ford intends to continue to lead the next generation of in-car connectivity with technology advancements that give consumers more options to access their devices on the go,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation.

Livio was co-founded by Jake Sigal and Massimo Baldini in 2008. Their motto: More music, less work. based in Metro-Detroit, the company has grown since.

Find out more: Todd and Don interviewed Livio on the CES Live Feed