Video from General Motors and Synaptic Digital: GM Gives Developers a Whole New Sandbox, with Wheels


Las Vegas, NV, Jan. 8, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — General Motors is announcing a new flexible application
framework at the Consumer Electronics Show that will allow drivers
to add apps and features to their vehicle after the initial
purchase, allowing vehicle infotainment systems to improve over

The framework enables new set of vehicle application programming
interfaces, or APIs, for developers, allowing them to interact with
and build upon the infotainment systems in GM vehicles.

GM will offer developers a software development kit (SDK)
through an online portal at This will allow
developers to work with GM in a secure and controlled manner to
design, test and deliver the most relevant, customizable and
seamlessly integrated automotive apps.

The implementation of these apps is incorporated into new
infotainment systems, debuting in select 2014 MY vehicles that will
change how in-vehicle apps are offered. The systems’ framework
includes an app catalog that will allow vehicle owners to choose
from a menu of available applications specifically designed for the
in-vehicle experience.

GM demonstrated applications from four potential partners for
the new app catalog: iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Slacker and The Weather Channel. The catalog, which is not
yet available on GM vehicles, is expected to grow as GM gets ready
to launch the new framework.

In addition, the framework will allow developers to create a new
category of vehicle apps.

“There will be a category of apps that will be unique to our
cars and very different from what people use today on their
smartphones or tablets,” said GM Chief Infotainment Officer Phil
Abram. “It’s not just taking phone apps and making them functional
in a car, which most car companies do in some form now. Instead, GM
may approve applications that stem from vehicle ownership. For
example, customers can choose to download applications that assist
them in driving more safely or in a more fuel efficient manner,
possibly decreasing the costs of vehicle ownership.”

Once these apps are created and have been approved by GM for
in-vehicle use, future owners of certain GM models will be able to
download them directly to the vehicle through the app catalog.

“GM customers will soon be able to personalize and update the
apps in their vehicles,” said Abram, “compared to today, when you
purchase a vehicle and the infotainment features are fixed and
remain the same throughout the ownership experience.”

Until now, GM has only offered select developers access to
remote APIs that interact with the vehicle via the OnStar system.
The new SDK will expand the environment so that developers can work
with the actual vehicle through the infotainment system.

“We are providing developers a pathway to develop for a new
audience in a new setting, resulting in new customers,” said Abram.
“GM intends to cultivate a relationship with these developers to
explore new apps that will benefit the overall driving experience.
This is part of GM’s commitment to bring customer-centric
technology to our vehicles and also establish a community where
developers can join in exploring what’s possible with in-vehicle

GM sells more than 9 million vehicles globally on an annual
basis, which creates a large base of potential app-capable vehicles
for developers to work with. The new app framework will first be
available on select 2014 MY vehicles in the United States, with the
intention to make it available over time on global brands,
increasing the opportunity for local customization.

GM is using the HTML5 Java Script framework in its SDK as

“We have designed our SDK so that developers only have to write
the software code once to address the entire population of vehicles
and end users,” said Abram. “Developers can repurpose existing
tools and code from existing projects as long as they’re consistent
with applicable licenses. Our app policies will also provide
flexibility in how developers can design commercial aspects of
their apps as well.”

GM will define a full certification process and business model
for applications. After developing apps, developers will have an
online opportunity to submit them on the dedicated online portal. If
approved, GM will provide the developer with next steps to test and
publish the app for customer access.

The online developer portal includes an active forum where
developers can go to gage a technical specialist with questions.
The portal also will host a blog for developers to keep them
informed on the latest news and information. GM will use the input
and feedback from the developer community to continuously improve
the app framework.

For more information, please visit

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce
vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions
in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM’s
brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick,
GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More
information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar,
a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information
services, can be found at

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