China-based electric car startup Byton might be best known for its massive 48-inch wraparound digital dashboard screen in its upcoming M-Byte SUV, as well as a host of other screens sprinkled throughout the vehicle. Those screens might get all the attention, but they are merely the delivery mechanism or "stage" for what Byton hopes will be a smart device on wheels.
The company announced Sunday ahead of CES, the annual tech trade show in Las Vegas, that it will launch a developer program to unlock the kinds of apps that will turn these screens into an interactive and valuable experience for customers.
Jeff Chung, Byton's VP of digital engineering, said the company has known from the outset that it would need to invite partners to "create truly compelling interactions."
"Byton's unique user interface offers developers a challenge and an opportunity to engage with an in-car experience like none they have ever seen," he added.
Byton has already been working with companies like Access, AccuWeather, Aiqudo, CloudCar, Road.Travel and Xperi to develop apps and services for entertainment, health and e-commerce. The developer program aims to expand that app ecosystem.
Byton has released UX design documentation as well as app development guidelines with the launch of the program.