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RAIN 10/11: Release of Ford AppLink SDK opens floodgates to app developers

Posted on: 10/11/2010

SDK ALLOWS NET RADIO AND OTHER APPS TO INTEGRATE WITH FORD DASHBOARDS

During Ford’s keynote at CTIA in San Francisco, Group VP of Global Product Development Derrick Kuzak announced the release of the AppLink SDK (software development kit). That enables developers to start making their smartphone apps compatible with Ford Sync AppLink platform.

AppLink hooks up with smartphones to not only access the web, but siphon content as well. In the case of the already-available Pandora and Stitcher apps, that means playing Internet radio content on your car radio, via a smartphone. It also allows drivers to control apps via voice-commands, and displays information (like metadata and album art) on the dashboard screen.

The release of the AppLink SDK allows all webcasters to make their mobile apps compatible Ford’s system. That would not only allow drivers to more easily play Internet radio content through their car stereos, but makes it dead simple for them to connect their smartphone via Bluetooth and control playback through voice commands. It’s another step forward to the future of in-car Internet radio.

Ford said that they’ve received over 1,000 app proposals already. AppLink will support Android and BlackBerry devices by early 2011, CNet reports, and iPhones will be compatible soon after.

PROFESSORS BUILDING WIRELESS BROADBANDWHITE SPACENETWORK IN HOUSTON

Remember that recent FCC vote that opened spectrum “white spaces” to be used for wireless broadband? Well, a group of professors and students from Rice University have won a $1.8 million National Science Foundation grant to build one of the first such “white space” networks.

It will cover three square kilometers in Houston and service approximately 3,000 users for free. The project serves as an experiment to test “issues related to urban Wi-Fi, fair bandwidth distribution, capacity planning, and multi-antenna systems,” writes Ars Technica (here).

MICROSOFT ANNOUNCES NEW PHONES, SOME PACKING SLACKER AND OTHER MUSIC-FRIENDLY FEATURES

Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 devices are arriving en masse today, with 9 devices invading the full gambit of cellular providers. All the phones will have access to Windows’ app store, which will host apps from Slacker, Pandora and other Internet radio services right off the bat (RAIN coverage here). At least one device though, the HTC HD7, will come with Slacker pre-installed. Another phone, the HTC 7 Surround (pictured), comes with a music-friendly slide-out speaker. It’s certainly a fun day for gadget-lovers. You can find more coverage over at Engadget.

ADOBE AIR COMES TO ANDROID, EASES BURDEN ON DEVELOPERS

Adobe’s AIR platform became available for Android 2.2 devices late last week, which is good news for developers trying to build apps for the whole range of mobile and desktop operating systems. AIR apps, using the same source code, can run on Windows, Mac and now Android devices. “It may not always mean great apps that can take advantage of each device’s unique hardware, but with the increasing flexibility of Flash tools, developers will be able to quickly port over games and other apps to a wider array of devices,” notes GigaOM (here).

AUDIOVOX’S JENSEN ANNOUNCES TWO NET RADIO CAR RADIO UNITS

Audiovox’s Jensen division has announced two new car radio units that are capable of playing Shoutcast Internet radio streams through a connected iOS mobile device. The VM-9314 and VM-9324 (pictured) units stream Internet radio via the Jensen 9300 app for iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Both units include touch-screens and are expected to sell at around $429. Find out more from CEOutlook.com here.



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