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Ford’s Sync AppLink gains Life360 and AccuWeather apps

Ford is introducing a pair of new apps for the AppLink component of its Sync in-car infotainment system, as it tries to create a more smartphone-like experience with all of the app choices that entails.

The latest additions are two safety-oriented apps – Life360 and AccuWeather – both of which will be demonstrated at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show next week.

Launching alongside the updated Sync 3 system, Ford says its Life360 app is the first automotive application of the popular family locator app.

As with the phone-only version that first appeared in 2008, Life360 allows users to keep track of their family and friends by displaying locations on a map, as well as individual or group messages.

The Sync AppLink version adds a “Drive Mode” that sends text messages to everyone in a person’s circle, warning them not to disturb the user while he or she is driving.

With this feature activated, the app senses when the driver’s smartphone is in the car. It then sends a message asking people not to text the driver, as well as a followup when they reach their destination.

Also joining the Sync AppLink roster is AccuWeather, which should make listening to terrible disc jockey banter while waiting for the forecast a thing of the past.

As with Life360 and the other Sync-ified apps, AccuWeather offers similar features to the phone-based version, but is tailored to work with Sync 3.0’s touchscreen display and car controls.

There’s also a MinuteCast feature that displays local information in the form of a graphic showing impending weather, a time estimate for when precipitation is expected to start, and audio warnings of hazards.

The service won’t be available everywhere, but it will cover major markets including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Japan.

Both apps will debut at CES next week. Life360 should become available alongside Sync 3; the Drive Mode feature launches this spring for Android only. The AccuWeather app will likely launch later next year.

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