Ford's Sync AppLink is the missing link between driver and smartphone

Ford keeps rolling out updates to its Sync ecosystem, this time giving drivers hands-free control of select BlackBerry and Android apps with AppLink. The system will first be available for the 2011 Ford Fiesta later this year with the upgrade rolling out to all Sync-equipped vehicles next year. While the voice-activated service only works with certain apps, it’s still a welcomed addition. It’s a bit unsafe trying to control Pandora on a 3-inch screen tethered to the car’s radio while navigating I-75.

At launch Pandora, Sticher, and Orangatame’s OpenBreak App for Twitter will work with the service. More apps are sure to come but they need to incorporate a special Sync API in order to work.

Drivers will then be able to control the apps via the apps through Sync’s voice commands and steering wheel buttons. This will of course free up the driver’s attention to do other things like, say, driving.

On a related note, I’ll be testing driving a 2011 Fiesta this week. Watch out for a full report and hopefully we’ll get to see this new feature in action.