Ford SYNC adds Android Auto, more AppLink apps and 4G LTE for 2017

LAS VEGAS — Just last month, Ford added Siri to its SYNC-equipped cars. Now it’s following up with even more connectivity at 2016 International CES: Android Auto and a slew of new apps.
Just like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto allows drivers with Android-powered phones to plug their device into their Ford and access their smartphone from the dashboard or with voice commands.
See also: Volkswagen’s CES-bound microbus EV may be called ‘BUDD.e’
Ford owners with SYNC 3-equipped cars will not only get six new AppLink apps, including AAA, Conur, EventSeeker and CitySeeker, Ford is also finally enabling the onboard 4G LTE signal. With Wi-Fi onboard, owners will be able to use the new SYNC Connect app that allows them to remotely manage a few features of their car.
The six new apps diversify the SYNC AppLink universe a bit. The AAA app allows drivers to find fuel stations nearby with their vehicle’s GPS signal as well as the Here2there route planning feature that includes realtime traffic. Concur is a business trip app that records miles driven on business trips.
For those keen to attract the lowest insurance rates, Ford offers IVOX DriverScore, which allows users to create driver profiles that records driving data. With this info, the user generates a DriverScore that can be treated like their credit score — but for driving. With this, they can go to the car insurance marketplace and get more accurate coverage quotes.
EvenSeeker and CitySeeker use GPS to find not only music events the driver might like, based upon their profile, but also restaurants and other nightlife attractions. Lastly the SYNC update adds Tencent Chelian, which is a popular social media platform in China. Likely, this won’t be available in the U.S., though Ford doesn’t specifically say.
Ford also now allows owners to share their location from the car itself, rather than from their smartphone. This integrates with Glympse, a new feature that “recognizes if a driver is actively sharing the realtime location via the app,” the Ford press release explains. If so, “SYNC AppLink will ask if they would like to be routed to that destination.”
While all of this sounds great, there’s a catch: The update is only on 2017 model year cars at first, starting with the 2017 Escape. Owners with 2016 model year cars with SYNC, however, will be able to update at a later date. Ford just isn’t saying when quite yet.

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