Ford Media Center

New, Free Ford SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator Software to Speed Development of New App-Enabled Experiences for the Car

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  • 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
  • SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator allows developers to set certain conditions – such as vehicle speed, location, temperature and mileage – to test how their app responds to each; it enables creation of apps that deliver more personalised experiences for customers
  • Growing Ford Developer Program counts more than 15,000 registered users and more than 90 AppLink-compatible apps globally. Calling all app developers! Ford to host the AppLink Mobility Developer Challenge and Roundtable in Berlin in September


COLOGNE, Germany, July 26, 2016 – With more than 15 million SYNC®-equipped vehicles on roads around the world today and 43 million expected by 2020, 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.

“The SYNC 3 AppLink Emulator makes app development far more accessible to the developer community,” says Dave Hatton, manager of mobile app development, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. “We expect this tool to open the door to a host of new and exciting car-friendly apps from developers, both big and small, around the world.”

Critical app development tool
The emulator allows a smartphone to connect to the developer’s computer – just like 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 customisable settings empower developers to make apps that deliver more personalised experiences for customers.

Making app development more accessible
The free software emulator, with its ready accessibility, 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.

AppLink developer challenge
Ford will host the AppLink Mobility Developer Europe Challenge and Roundtable in Berlin on Sept. 7-8. The 24-hour challenge will enable developers to engage directly with Ford AppLink engineers and business teams to gather ideas, on mobility-related apps that could potentially be developed and made available to drivers.

Ford engineers will be on hand to explain the newest software tools for developing more personalised, vehicle-data-driven apps. Winners of the Developer Challenge will compete for prizes worth over €140,000 in cash and services including five spots in a Ford sponsored Techstars pre-accelerator program. 

“For Ford, embracing the global developer community and opening the door to innovation are critical aspects of our mission,” said Hatton. “As a company, we look forward to the wave of innovation we expect to stem from our growing efforts – all part of the Ford Developer Program.”

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.

First introduced in Europe in 2013, Ford’s SYNC AppLink technology already enables drivers to voice-activate a wide range of smartphone apps, including AccuWeather, ADAC, Audioteka, AUPEO!, Cadena SER, Cityseeker by Wcities, Cyclops, DetektorFM, DIE WELT, Eventseeker by Wcities, Glympse, Goal Live Scores, Los 40 Principales, Meople, n-tv, Radioplayer, Roald Dahl Audiobooks, Spotify and

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 201,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles.  At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit


Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 53,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 68,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (16 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and 8 unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.

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