The Past, Present, and Future of SmartDeviceLink

Joel Fischer CES

A few weeks ago, an article came out about how SmartDeviceLink stole the CES show. We agree! We love the coverage and momentum we saw coming out of CES. However, the article did make a few errors we would like to address.

The article opened by claiming that Livio created SmartDeviceLink. And while we would love to say that our technology underpins app connectivity for millions of cars on the road, it is not true. Livio created something known as Livio Connect; originally we were competitors to SmartDeviceLink. Livio Connect was strikingly similar to SmartDeviceLink and many of the fundamental ideas were the same, even if the implementation was quite different. In 2013, Ford purchased Livio for our expertise in the space of app connectivity, but not for our technology itself.

At that point, Ford already had Applink in many of its cars, and had created SmartDeviceLink as an open-source port to the Genivi Alliance. Unfortunately, releases were few and far between, and the core work was being done on Applink behind Ford walls.

Why did Ford open-source SmartDeviceLink in the first place? The answer is simple, but it now appears prescient. Ford realized that too many proprietary solutions existed and app developers were unwilling to create apps for so many proprietary solutions. So Ford open-sourced SmartDeviceLink to drive adoption from other OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers which would in turn drive adoption from app developers. Everyone wins.

Livio was brought on to bring its technical expertise and startup culture to Ford. It took some time, but Livio has helped drive SmartDeviceLink to the point it is today. Livio pushed for development to move to the open on Github and worked tirelessly on an improved codebase and development process. We are extremely grateful to those at Ford who have worked with us to help make SmartDeviceLink what it is today. Recently, Livio helped drive the push that has resulted in Toyota announcing they are working on integration with SmartDeviceLink.

Coming back to the article, it continued, claiming that several new features such as a 5.0 SDK and generic HMI are currently available. Unfortunately, this is also not true, and though they are on the roadmap, they may not happen for some time.

Livio is hoping to continue the momentum of SmartDeviceLink in 2016. We have some pretty cool additions coming to our mobile libraries, and we are hoping to see continued adoption among other companies. We will have more announcements in the coming months about a variety of enhancements to SDL that we are extremely excited about. Stay tuned!


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