CES: GM to open the dashboard to developersTue, 08 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0800
At last year's Autoweek Design Forum, father of the iPod and Nest Labs co-founder Tony Fadell suggested that automakers concentrate on designing and building cars, leaving handset makers to handle infotainment.
The latest announcements from Ford and GM -- in conjunction with the International CES -- suggest that automakers would rather treat the dashboard space as a handset.
Yesterday, Dearborn, Mich., announced the Ford Developer Program, which opens up Sync to outside application development; now General Motors has announced a similar initiative.
While GM has allowed a few developers access to an Application Programming Interface that works through OnStar, this is the company's first shot at allowing outside code monkeys into the dashboard itself.
This won't, however, be a retroactive initiative. The new framework will be available on a few 2014 vehicles in the U.S., with an eye toward global expansion and localized app development.
The company's also launching an online portal to submit apps built with the new software development kit, including a support forum and a blog to keep coders apprised of the most current news regarding the framework.
At the launch, GM demoed programs from radio agglomerators iHeart Radio and TuneIn, internet radio service Slacker and The Weather Channel.
We're curious to see what effect a loaded dashboard will have on the motoring populace. Will crashing/glitchy apps induce road rage? Are we really ready for all this? Should Ford make sure that MyFord Touch and Sync are totally bulletproof before piling on more features? Should GM be following them down this particular rabbit hole? Is there a developer out there who might cure what ails CUE? Should we heed Fadell's advice and just let the handset do what it does best? After all, people upgrade their phones more often than they upgrade their automobiles.
Big questions. In the meantime, we've got an idea for a massively multiplayer traffic Tetris app. Right?
By Davey G. Johnson