GM joins Ford on infotainment platform for app developers

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LAS VEGAS?Hours after Ford announced Monday it would be the first automaker to open its in-vehicle infotainment app platform to third-party developers General Motors jumped on the same bandwagon. GM says it will also open its new in-vehicle infotainment systems to third-party app developers.

GM plans to offer developers a software developer kit (SDK) through its online developer portal at The portal will let developers work with GM to design, test, and deliver integrated automotive apps for the company?s new infotainment systems. Like Ford?s developer portal, GM?s portal will also allow developers access to a forum community.

GM?s new infotainment systems, which are customizable and feature built-in partner apps such as TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Slacker, and The Weather Channel, will debut in select 2014 MY vehicles this summer.

Unlike Ford?s Developer Program, which will focus on smartphone apps developed for Ford?s SYNC-enabled AppLink platform, GM hopes that its new app framework will spawn a new category of vehicle apps.

?There will be a category of apps that will be unique to our cars and very different from what people use today on their smartphones or tablets,? Phil Abram, GM?s Chief Infotainment Officer, said in a statement. ?It?s not just taking phone apps and making them functional in a car, which most car companies do in some form now. Instead, GM may approve applications that stem from vehicle ownership. For example, customers can choose to download applications that assist them in driving more safely or in a more fuel efficient manner, possibly decreasing the costs of vehicle ownership.?

In other words, GM hopes that third-party developers will create auto-based apps specifically for its infotainment systems, rather than mobile apps that happen to work within the GM infrastructure.

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