Technology

Ford to app developers: Come to our Vegas conference

Ford to host app developers conference in Las Vegas with final round of a hackathon at L.A. Auto Show

In an attempt to get more software developers to build apps for vehicles, Ford Motor Co. will host what it calls the auto industry’s first app developers conference.

A growing number of smartphone users want to bring apps to life on the screens inside their cars, but automakers’ early attempts have faltered because a jumble of competing technologies has left many developers unsure where to start.

Ford’s $99-a-person conference on Sept. 8 in Las Vegas, part of Super Mobility Week, will pitch to developers the Ford technology called AppLink. Smartphone operating system makers Apple and Google for several years have used developer conferences to rally appmakers around their products.

Both companies provide tools for developers who already use their platforms to more easily make existing apps available in car systems. Google’s recently announced system is called Android Auto. Though Ford is among those planning to release cars equipped with Android Auto, it's not abandoning AppLink.

Ford is planning a 12-hour hackathon where programmers will try to grind out apps that could harness data from Ford vehicles and the city of Los Angeles open data library. Ford and a city official will be on hand to advise.

The 10 best apps get two months for polishing before competing for a prize at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The grand-prize winner will be featured with Ford at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

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