Ford buys startup to juice in-car mobile connectivity

Ford hopes to standardize in-car connectivity to smart phones

Ford <">today said it will acquire Livio, a Michigan-based startup that makes software for connecting hardware to mobile applications.

Ford is hoping to use Livio's intellectual property to standardize the way vehicles access smartphones and mobile content, such as streaming music and email.

Ford's SYNC infotainment system (Source: Ford)

An "industry standard would give app creators a single platform to work with, resulting in faster development of higher quality apps for consumers to safely access digital content on the go," Ford said in a statement. Financial details of the sale were not revealed.

Since 2007, the car company has used its proprietary SYNC informatics system and AppLink software for in-car connectivity to smartphones.

Previously, Ford contributed its Smart Device Link, the open source version of its AppLink software, to the GENIVI Alliance for use by app developers. GENIVI is a non-profit industry alliance committed to driving the broad adoption of an In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) open-source development platform.

A single vehicle interface standard, Ford said, will offer developers the ability to create faster and more efficient software, providing drivers with the apps they want to use more quickly. Livio software already is compatible with several commonly used apps and works with all major smartphone devices.

"At Livio, our philosophy is centered on bringing customers more connectivity with less hassle," Livio CEO Jake Sigal, said in a statement. "We believe this partnership is an excellent match, as it will give us the ability to work with Ford to provide customers even more access to new technologies in the vehicle infotainment space."

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Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

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