Apps Wanted: Ford Opens Its Cars’ Doors To Developers Everywhere [CES 2013]



Just over 100 years ago, Ford, one of America’s oldest car companies, was selling the model T; my, how far we’ve come.

Back to 2013, Ford has announced they’re opening up their AppLink service to all the iOS and Android app developers of the world, essentially creating an ecosystem full of apps that will make their cars even better. They’re calling their new initiative the Ford Developer Program, and I think it’s pretty cool.

Formally available only to select partners, AppLink allows iOS or Android apps to control key cabin components of the car, such as the screens, speakers, stereo, and microphones. Now, any developer can build apps that speak directly to the car.

The cost for the privilege of creating Ford-compatible apps? Totally free.

There are rules of course, when developing apps that are used in cars. Fords says all apps must pass rigorous safety testing before being approved; sounds like a good idea to me. And because safety is paramount, Ford also made it clear that apps with video or lots text need not apply.

This is quite an exciting change in the world of automobiles. It’s clear that Ford has been getting serious about integrating tech into their autos, but by welcoming devs into their walled garden, they’re opening up their cars to the imagination and innovation of creative minds everywhere. That seems like a win for drivers, and a very smart win for Ford.

Intrigued? Head over to to learn more, or to submit that Skynet app you’ve been working on.