Ford’s SmartDeviceLink program makes it easier for developers to make apps

Ford Fusion MyFord Touch SmartDeviceLink
The MyFord Touch system in a 2016 Ford Fusion

Infotainment systems are finicky beasts. Every manufacturer wants the best, yet the development cycle of a new vehicle is much longer than the technology people hold in their hands every day, their smartphones.

Ford has made it even easier for developers to create apps for in-car infotainment systems by introducing the SmartDeviceLink developer program. The program makes it easier for software developers to gain access to the tools they need to integrate apps like Spotify into infotainment systems for all manufacturers.

Along with Ford, Toyota has also adopted SmartDeviceLink, which Ford open-sourced back in 2013. By opening the source code for the platform, it allows developers access to all of the code and code libraries and to improve the code and give it back to the open-source community.

Honda, Subaru and Mazda are also looking at the technology for possible adoption.

The SmartDeviceLink platform is system-agnostic. What that means is that the platform doesn’t care what it’s run on, whether it’s a Ford, Toyota or any other manufacturer’s infotainment system. This level of abstraction frees the developers from caring what their apps run on, they can make one app and it would work on systems from any manufacturer who adopts the technology.

SmartDeviceLink also doesn’t care what operating system is used, so whether it’s Android, Apple’s iOS, or any other new operating system that may be popular in the future, it will still work with the platform.

This new way of dealing with apps and smartphone integration would make it even easier for manufacturers to add new features to existing, older vehicles. Ford has already made updates available for older cars to add features, as have Hyundai and Fiat-Chrysler. A unified platform would make these updates even easier.

TFLcar already predicted, or at least championed, the idea of a single, unified infotainment platform that would make adding features easy. It looks like thanks to Ford, Toyota and other manufacturers and developers, this idea has a chance to become reality.

Check out this TFLcar video of everything you want to know about the Ford Sync 3 infotainment system: