A source of from contention in the past – especially SYNC 2, SYNC 3 is growing up. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – July 21, 2016 Ford launches its SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator, free software that makes it easy for developers to create and test apps for compatibility with the automaker’s connectivity system – without needing to access an actual vehicle Ford stated it has over 15 million SYNC equipped vehicles on the road today and predicts as many as 43 million will be on the road by 2020. To enhance the SYNC 3 consumer experience, Ford is introducing a free tool for smartphone app developers aimed at making it easy and cost-efficient to develop in-car apps compatible with the company’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system. Downloadable from the Ford Developer Program website, SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator is a software program that helps developers create AppLink-enabled apps by allowing them to test how their app will look and work on a SYNC 3 interface – without access to an actual vehicle. Critical app development tool The emulator allows a smartphone to connect to the developer’s computer just as it would normally connect to SYNC 3. The software platform then mimics SYNC 3 by connecting to the app running from the developer’s phone. The user fine-tunes the look and functionality of the app, then can instantly see how the created features would appear on the in-vehicle touch screen. The software allows developers to set certain conditions such as vehicle speed, location, temperature and mileage – to test how the app responds to each. These customizable settings empower developers to make apps that deliver more personalized experiences for customers. Making app development more accessible The free software emulator will help speed development, especially in markets where developers have limited access to vehicles or Ford’s current method of SYNC-compatible app development – tabletop hardware units known as FordDev Technology Development Kits. Ford makes the kits, also known as SYNC-in-a-box, available through a San Francisco location. Developer Conference Ford will host its third annual SYNC AppLink Developer Conference in conjunction with CTIA Super Mobility 2016™, Sept. 7-9, in Las Vegas. Ford engineers will be on hand to explain the newest software tools for developing more personalized, vehicle-data-driven apps. In addition, the Ford developer team will hold a hackathon, where developers can put into action what they have learned for a chance to win prizes. Past hackathons have attracted developers from around the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Hong Kong and Japan. Ford Developer Program Launched in 2013, the Ford Developer Program invites app developers from across the globe to innovate with the company in the auto industry’s first end-to-end developer ecosystem. The program now has more than 15,000 registered users and more than 90 AppLink-compatible smartphone apps globally. Spotify, AccuWeather, MLB.com At Bat and iHeartAuto are a few popular apps that now feature AppLink capability. It sounds like SYNC is trying to stay ahead of the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Onslaught.