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Old 01-10-2019, 09:13 AM   #1
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Android Based Stereo Systems

does anyone have any experience with these units? The unit in my 2018 Phaeton is acting flaky and I am wanting to replace it. In my research I ran across these Android based units and realized I could use my CoPilot RV app with it as well as Google Maps, Waze, and any other useful app available in the Play Store. I was wondering if anyone has already installed one of these units, and what you think of them?
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:39 PM   #2
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A link will be helpful.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:50 PM   #3
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I'm going to assume that you mean a radio that is compatible with Android Auto, as opposed to a radio that operates on the Android operating system.
Android Auto runs on your phone, and is mirrored to the radio display. The phone is doing all of the work, the radio is just an extra screen.

I have one in my car, it works well, and Google is constantly making little changes to make it better.

You can not use ANY app via Android Auto, it's a limited subset of the apps on your phone. You'll want to research more to verify that the apps that YOU want to use will indeed work. Of the ones you listed I know for sure that Waze and Google Maps work. I'm don't know about Co-Pilot.

You should operate on the assumption that you must plug your phone into a cable which is connected to the radio, or Android Auto most likely won't work.
Google has recently made it so that this will work over bluetooth, but there aren't many radios out yet that will work that way.

When your phone is plugged in and running Android Auto the functionality of the phone itself is limited. (These limits are some of what Google is changing, to free up the phone a bit). On mine, I can't see, or hear, text messages when they come in. Many will argue that's a good thing. I think other phones and/or radios might work differently.

I have audio books on my phone. Previously I couldn't play an audio book AND use Android Auto. Or I could but it was a heck of a fight to make it work - not something you want to do while driving down the road. One of the changes I read that Google has made recently supposedly made that easier to do, but I haven't had a chance to try it to confirm it for myself.

My wife, very much a non-geek (I'm the geek of the family) mentioned that she really likes the way the navigation works, and prefers it to the navigation built in to her Prius. It must be REALLY great for her to notice.

I'm a Google fan, it was one of the selling points for the particular car that I bought, I expected it to like it, and I do.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:50 PM   #4
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just an FYI, many units are now Android Auto (or that Apple thing) capable. The unit in my F150 is - you can get WAZE and other apps on the dash unit via your cell phone.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:37 PM   #5
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Here is a link to what I am talking about. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0792X89SH...v_ov_lig_dp_it

This is not Android auto, it is more like an android tablet built into the radio. It has a customized Android OS.

I am very familiar with Android Auto and use it regularly in my car. This is not that. It can be connected to a wifi hotspot and then download just about any app from the play store you want, such as CoPilot, google maps, waze, etc. They also have an ODB2 module that will allow monitoring engine status, and even link to TPMS systems. I just thought they looked pretty cool.
I am just wondering if anyone else has installed one, and what you think of it.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:25 PM   #6
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So, I guess no one has one of these?
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:16 AM   #7
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I looked at the link you posted but I don't have one. Looking at the first review, it doesn't look too good. The guy reviewing seems pretty knowledgeable so I would read his review carefully. I don't like looking at the middle of the dash for GPS info because it takes my eyes off of the road. I decided to get a bigger screened android phone and mount it on a suction cup holder attached to the windshield just to the left of my dash. I bluetooth music and phone calls to the factory radio. I can see the screen without really taking my eyes off of the road for GPS guidance. I've got a Samsung S8+ which is pretty big but if you wanted something bigger you could go with the Note. Something to think about.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:09 AM   #8
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I've seen these types of stereos discussed in other forums. I would never recommend one. I know a good bit about Android programming and and own quite a few devices. Some just for testing. The software on these stereos are basically a modified version of Android. You'll probably spend more time tinkering with it than actual getting any use out of it.

If you want to replace the double din I recommend spending a little more on a decent Android Auto unit from a known brand. There is a Pioneer unit on Amazon for 25 bucks more. I installed it in my RV and it works great. I probably would have spent more if I was a full-timer.

Or suction cup a small tablet within arms reach. The screen and interactions will be quicker than most touchscreen stereos.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WagonMaster View Post
I looked at the link you posted but I don't have one. Looking at the first review, it doesn't look too good. The guy reviewing seems pretty knowledgeable so I would read his review carefully.
I read that too, but his complaints had to do with very specialized activity, like not being able to go into developer mode. I do not see myself modifying the OS on my own. He says it is not the full blown version of Android and that many things are missing. I am sure this is true, but as I recall, the things he says are missing are probably nothing I will care about. He is an Android expert way above 98% of the rest of us. He would want all the Android bells and whistles that I would not. If you notice too, most of the other reviews were positive, giving it 4 or 5 stars.

Plus, with all that said, I posted that link to show an example of the type of unit I am talking about. I am not saying this is the one I am considering purchasing.
I would like to discuss some of the pros and cons of this type of unit. These seem like they would be a good fit for an RV application. Not only do they add some nice navigation options, but they can be used as a dash cam, engine systems monitor, TPMS monitor and many other useful functions.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:14 AM   #10
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I've seen these types of stereos discussed in other forums. I would never recommend one. I know a good bit about Android programming and and own quite a few devices. Some just for testing. The software on these stereos are basically a modified version of Android. You'll probably spend more time tinkering with it than actual getting any use out of it.

If you want to replace the double din I recommend spending a little more on a decent Android Auto unit from a known brand. There is a Pioneer unit on Amazon for 25 bucks more. I installed it in my RV and it works great. I probably would have spent more if I was a full-timer.

Or suction cup a small tablet within arms reach. The screen and interactions will be quicker than most touchscreen stereos.
Thank you for your post, this is the kind of discussion I was hoping for.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:53 AM   #11
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Thank you for your post, this is the kind of discussion I was hoping for.
I looked at a few pictures in the link. I bet there is no way for the average user to prove whether or not it's actually using 8.0, which is no longer the latest version. You can usually identify the versions by the navigation buttons. They look very similar to the first Android version built for tablets around 2011. They could have modified those as well.

These types of stereos probably aren't too bad if you don't also have to control air conditioning and other car function. For me the price is too close to Android Auto prices.

If you still want car data, just buy a 10 dollar OBD plug and the Torque app. It won't work with Android Auto but would work with most phones and tablets. I've used the Torque app before. It'll actually reset some faults that would typically require a trip to a shop. I had a fault on my mustang that I caused when installing a cold air intake. The Torque app reset it.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:04 AM   #12
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I sorta like the idea of having the tablet built into the coach. It frees up my other tablet for other tasks and I can then uninstall some stuff on it, cause it is very full now.
Why should I care about which version of android is installed if it does what I need to do?
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:10 AM   #13
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I looked at a few pictures in the link. I bet there is no way for the average user to prove whether or not it's actually using 8.0, which is no longer the latest version. You can usually identify the versions by the navigation buttons. They look very similar to the first Android version built for tablets around 2011. They could have modified those as well.

These types of stereos probably aren't too bad if you don't also have to control air conditioning and other car function. For me the price is too close to Android Auto prices.

If you still want car data, just buy a 10 dollar OBD plug and the Torque app. It won't work with Android Auto but would work with most phones and tablets. I've used the Torque app before. It'll actually reset some faults that would typically require a trip to a shop. I had a fault on my mustang that I caused when installing a cold air intake. The Torque app reset it.
I have a Freightliner chassis, I thought those did not have the ODB2 plug. I thought they have something other type interface plug.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:32 AM   #14
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My plan is to mount an actual Android tablet in the cockpit - for now, my Nexus 9 - and tether it to my Pixel 2 XL smartphone, which is also mounted. That will let me mix and match components without the limitations of Android Auto.

I stream music and Waze directions constantly from my Pixel to the auto audio over Bluetooth. With the tablet I'll get a bigger display, but the display on the Pixel is actually higher res.

I'm installing a local wired and wireless network so I can use that setup to get audio and video in the coach, too. I'll add Bluetooth or Chromecast audio to the stereo in back, and use a Chromecast to send video to the TV.

Hey. I'll be air streaming in my Clarion.

I have an unlimited data plan with AT&T and it has proven to work great even in the no-mans land of the middle of the Michigan UP.

PS: Amazon is beginning to ship Echo Auto which will listen for "Alexa" commands to stream audio and control Waze and Google Maps. I may add that in, too.
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