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New Ford Acquisition Could Put More Smartphone Apps on Your Dashboard

Livio began building Internet radios but shifted to in-car connectivity.

by on Sep.27, 2013

Ford has purchased Detroit software house Livio to help it expand the number of apps it can offer in-car.

Ford Motor Co. has alternately won praise for its high-tech Sync infotainment system and been slammed for the problems with its MyFordTouch touchscreen interface.  But even as the maker struggles to resolve some of those problems it has taken a big step forward in its push to give motorists access to a wide range of smartphone apps and features.

The Detroit maker has acquired a small suburban Detroit start-up called Livio for $10 million with an eye towards making it simpler to link Sync with motorists’ smartphones.  The goal is to come up with an industry standard for connecting those devices. Curiously, Livio’s first big automaker client was Ford’s cross-town rival General Motors, which recently turned to the small, high-tech firm for help with the infotainment systems on its downsized Chevrolet Spark and Sonic models.

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“With the additional expertise Livio provides us, Ford intends to continue to lead the next generation of in-car connectivity with technology advancements that give consumers more options to access their devices on the go,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation, in a statement.

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