Detroit Automakers Vie for App Devs Amid Infotainment Arms Race
July 2, 2013 2:43 PM
The car is the latest smart device
In today's era of
even smart watches
-- an oft forgotten, but fast growing sector is the smart vehicle. Today's vehicles come packed with infotainment software. Some even have live connections to the cloud via your smartphone or built in modems. Some automakers are opening their door to apps (e.g. drivers ed apps, driving log apps, apps to tell you where the closest fast food joint is, or apps to suggest a fun date location nearby).
I. GM and Ford Woo Third Party Developers
Ford Motor Comp. (
already supports third party apps
, while General Motors Comp. (
) will be
rolling out its own app platform
next year, according to announcements.
All this means a quiet boom in Detroit-based app developers. App developers in Detroit largely fall into three tiers -- those who work directly with automakers on their in-car interfaces; those who work at large suppliers on third-party interfaces; and those who do contract work to support certain automotive themed apps either directly in-vehicle or related to a vehicle (think your car manual on your smartphone).
The car is the new smart device. [Image Source: Ford]
Laura Kurtz, Ford’s manager of United States recruiting, told
The New York Times
a recent highlight
on the surging Detroit information technology (IT) and app developer recruitment that Ford plans to hire 300 IT specialists in the next year. Some will be tasked with working on MyFord Touch, SYNC, and related infotainment products, while others will play roles as systems administrators and software support for the mass of software needed to generate a modern fuel-efficient vehicle.
GM plans to add even more skilled developers and IT specialists over the next three to five years -- 4,400 in total at a location in the Detroit suburb of Warren as well as other facilities in Austin, Texas; Roswell, Geor.; and Chandler, Ariz. Of those new hires, GM estimates 1,200 will be recent college grads. GM's applications and application ecosystem development team is headed by Steve Schwinke and has 50 members. That will double by the year's end to over 100 engineers. Comments the team lead, "A lot of people are really interested in the space because it’s new. It’s a new screen."
And GM is eager to get third party developers involved for its new program, which launches next year. Nick Pudar, director of GM's new app developer ecosystem program, echoes these statements as he travels the country try to recruit phone developers to consider developing vehicle apps. He comments, "[Developers] view [automotive] as a new space to be creative. The vehicles are becoming this new channel of innovation. This is a newfound field full of features and functionality that developers are intrigued by."
II. Small Developers Thrive in Michigan
Michigan's Department of Labor
projects that the system software developer is growing faster than any other technical job in Michigan -- projected 36.9 percent a year. App developer growth isn't bad either -- at 23.5 percent, versus an average growth rate of 8.5 percent. The Department of Labor came to those statistics by digging into local growth trends since 2010.
The state -- famous for the "Big Three" and countless automotive suppliers -- is certainly recovering post-recession, but the software development field is spring back faster than any other technical field in the state.
One growing power is
. In 2011 the company had 10 employees, it currently has 40, and by the end of the year it expects to employ over 60 engineers -- a six-fold growth. Company co-founder Paul Glomski comments, "If you go to the coasts, you are one of thousands. In Detroit, you have the opportunity to make an impact. It's for real."
Developers relax in a casual environment at Detroit Labs. [Image Source: The Detroit Times]
Another top local development firm is Apigee Labs, founded by Brian Mulloy -- a San Francisco, Calif. startup veteran and University of Michigan graduate. While Apigee does not directly develop many automotive apps (instead focusing on a wide variety of form factors from smartphones to fitness machines), it's reveling in the auto-driven app economy. Apigee shares a building with Detroit Labs.
Company founder Mr. Mulloy comments, "You’re going to see developers set up shop in Detroit because they’re going to follow the money and there will be lots of money."
There are obstacles to becoming an automotive app developer -- namely the cost of development kits (at least based on Ford's model). And Detroit lacks the cachet of the hipster havens of the West Coast. But ultimately developers go where there's money and there's a lot of money in Detroit, plus low living costs.
Thus expect the Detroit app and IT boom to continue, as the car becomes the latest app-sporting, cloud-connected smart device form factor.
The New York Times
"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
Apple Looks to Trademark "iWatch" in Japan
July 1, 2013, 11:18 AM
Samsung to Break Another Profit Record, Creeps Closer to Apple
April 5, 2013, 12:34 PM
LG Buys WebOS From HP for SmartTVs
February 25, 2013, 11:14 AM
CES 2013: GM Launches New Developer Program for Vehicle Apps
January 8, 2013, 9:18 AM
CES 2013: Ford Launches "First Open Developer Program in the Auto History"
January 7, 2013, 11:27 PM
Tesla will announce electric lorry in September
April 19, 2017, 6:20 AM
Dubai announces passenger drone plans.
February 14, 2017, 7:56 AM
Lucky LA Residence
January 28, 2017, 4:00 AM
Debuted at CES 2017 - Corning Gorilla Glass Concept Car
January 7, 2017, 3:02 AM
Happy, healthy and feastive New Year to you and everyone in the world that about to celebrate the Season Holidays
January 1, 2017, 12:01 AM
In 2017, Here are the New Autos of 2018
December 30, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Surface Pro 5 Rumors - New Release Date and Price
April 22, 2017, 6:45 AM
ASUS RT-AC5300 – Ultimate Game & 4K Streaming
April 18, 2017, 7:45 AM
Dell Inspiron 17 7000 – A Premium Laptop featuring 7th Gen Intel Core i7 in a 2-in-1 Frame.
April 19, 2017, 7:45 AM
Meet the Smartphone with four cameras - Alcatel Flashphone
April 5, 2017, 11:20 AM
Vivo V5 Plus – the Selfie Softlight is on You.
April 17, 2017, 7:05 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Samsung Galaxy S8 – Warning for Pet Owners
Apr 24, 2017, 5:59 AM
Sound Bars and the Costs?
Apr 23, 2017, 6:30 AM
Link your Brain to Your Computer – In Four Years…Maybe
Apr 22, 2017, 7:03 AM
Google Home can now identify users by their voice.
Apr 21, 2017, 7:15 AM
Amazon Lex – Now Available for Developers.
Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
You can now use Instagram offline on your Android Smartphone
Apr 19, 2017, 8:00 AM
Now you can livestream to YouTube from your mobile device.
Apr 18, 2017, 8:05 AM
Google Home – Is It a Spy Device?
Apr 17, 2017, 7:30 AM
Apple added to self –driving test permit list
Apr 15, 2017, 6:21 AM
Project Scorpio – Coming on June 11
Apr 14, 2017, 6:20 AM
Looks Like Samsung Has Been Forgiven.
Apr 13, 2017, 6:50 AM
United Airlines - Blasted on China’s Social Network and the Stock Market
Apr 12, 2017, 6:50 AM
Amazon's Third-Party Sellers Hacked
Apr 11, 2017, 6:25 AM
Microsoft Surface Pro5 Details Revealed
Apr 9, 2017, 6:41 AM
Own An Android Phone? Then you could be hacked over Wi-FI
Apr 7, 2017, 6:47 AM
Apple confirms iOS 10.3 bug and its effect on iCloud Services
Apr 6, 2017, 6:30 AM
Apple Rolls Out New Version of Apple Music
Apr 5, 2017, 10:35 AM
Apple in the News
Apr 4, 2017, 9:03 AM
Apple iPhones Will Soon Feature Graphics Chips Designed BY Apple
Apr 3, 2017, 6:23 AM
AMD Ryzen Desktop Processors Performance
Apr 2, 2017, 6:30 AM
What makes a camera Lensless?
Apr 1, 2017, 7:45 AM
Google halts Android Wear 2.0 Update Due to Bug
Mar 31, 2017, 7:27 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information