Sure, Ford’s Sync lets drivers and passengers control their cars with voice commands. But it can do a whole lot more than just that.
In its latest iteration, Ford has allowed third party developers from National Public Radio and Roximity to create integrated applications through Ford’s AppLink software, allowing access to a wealth of NPR’s public radio programming, or help finding deals at nearby locales that are tailored to each phone user.
Downloadable free through the iTunes App Store or Android Market, the apps synchronize the smartphone’s functions through a Ford vehicle’s audio system. Roximity works with personal preferences to find nearby stores and restaurants with special deals for members. Think of it as a more focused version of Groupon or Living Social in its basic operation.
With the NPR app, it always starts with the most recent newscast. From there, the app allows listeners to tune into their favorite NPR stations from across the nation to be able to be able to listen to regional segments. It also lets listeners select news segment categories like sports, politics, or culture with voice commands. If you’re really stuck with how to use the NPR app, Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me‘s Carl Kasell is there to offer up helpful hints in how to navigate through segments and submenus.
Although the segments currently available are recent, NPR began cataloging its radio reports in 1986 and will be going back farther. Available now in the 2012 Ford Fiesta, Mustang, F-150, and Fusion among several other vehicles that it will be expanding to shortly and the Lincoln model range, the Ford AppLink’s reach is only beginning as the automaker will be expanding its partnerships with other developers of car-specific smartphone applications.