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App development is a booming industry. Many traditional web developers are either abandoning their day jobs to become mobile app developers or are working furiously to so that they can add app development to their range of services. Now, it seems that they have one more channel to explore; a channel that is still largely untapped and which is rich in opportunity.

Frederic Lardinois, from TechCruch, has reported that Ford and GM will be opening the door for developers with their own software development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs). According to Lardinois, GM will enable developers to create apps for built-in infotainment systems, while Ford’s systems will work with drivers’ mobile phones.

Are built-in infotainment apps the way to go?

It’s a question that needs to be asked, and one which Lardinois goes a long way towards answering.

Think how quickly mobile technology evolves; how often are new phones with new features released? How quickly do app developers have to work to keep up with the changes?

The answers: pretty often, and very quickly.

It won’t take long for apps that are built into infotainment systems to become dated. Developers and automotive manufacturers will have to work together to find some way that will enable drivers to update their apps if they want to stay current.

Systems that work with smartphones, on the other hand, will always be current.


The way forward

David Greenway ( says that some cars are now starting to include various operating systems, including Android, Linux and Windows, in their infotainment consoles.

Once again, Ford gets a mention. Its Sync system plays music being streamed from smartphones on the car’s speakers, and it’s also able to read magazine articles out loud.

It seems pretty clear to everyone in the automotive industry that apps (integrated or not) are about to become big business. Developers have a choice: they can find out more about the SDKs and APIs that car manufacturers are making available or they can ignore the fact that the app market is expanding into new fields and miss out on new opportunities.

That’s not to say that the mobile market isn’t still lucrative, but when you work in such a competitive industry, you want to give yourself every chance to succeed. When you think about it that way, developers don’t have any choice at all. They need to brush up their skills so that they can take advantage of the burgeoning motor vehicle app market.

Sandy Cosser works in the IT industry, with all its highs and lows, and changes and challenges, especially for web developers and digital marketers.