Thursday , August 17 2017

With Google’s Android Auto going stand-alone, what’s the best way to add it to your car?

Android Auto - Home

So you’ve always wanted Android Auto in your car, but you couldn’t afford (or didn’t want) to upgrade the head-unit in your car. With today’s announcement that Android Auto can now be used stand-alone (i.e. without a compatible head-unit in your car), there’s new ways to enjoy Android Auto in any car, provided you’ve got a few bits and pieces to make it work.

We’ve been discussing this development in the Ausdroid offices today, and there’s two leading ways to get Android Auto in your car. Of course, regardless of which option you choose, make sure your phone is in a commercially made phone mount — touching your phone is generally illegal in Australia unless it is properly mounted, and until Google gets ‘OK Google’ voice detection going in Android Auto, which we understand is coming soon, you’ll need to tap your phone on occasion to interact with Android Auto.

Option 1: Simply use your phone

If you’re happy with the size of your phone’s display, you can use Android Auto on your phone and just pop it in an appropriate phone holder. This method doesn’t require anything additional to what you’ve already got, though if you don’t have a decent phone holder in your car, it’s time to address that.

img_2016-11-08-160023

We can recommend a variety of phone holders from the Ausdroid Shop, including this one that fits in your CD slot, this one that sticks to your windscreen or this more affordable option that uses an air-vent. There’s a number of options and what works best for you will depend on what’s in your car, and how you want to set it up.

Of course, using this option means you’re limited to a fairly small screen. If you want a bigger Android Auto interface, read on.

Option 2: Use a tablet, tether to your phone

If you’ve got a Nexus 7 tablet lying around, or indeed, any recent tablet that runs Android 5.0 or higher, here’s a great use for that device: use it for Android Auto in your car. The advantage of using such a tablet is, depending on your level of security, you can probably just leave the tablet in the car and enjoy a much bigger display to navigate Android Auto with.

The downside is that, unless you’ve got a tablet with LTE built-in, you’re going to need to get internet connectivity to that device somehow. The easiest way is probably just using your phone as a portable hotspot, as Android Auto isn’t likely to use a lot of data, depending on how much you talk to it.

If you don’t have one of these tablets, have a search on eBay or Gumtree. Second hand Android tablets don’t cost much, and chances are you’ll be able to find a real bargain on one.

Finding a tablet-mount for your car isn’t much more difficult. The Ausdroid Shop sells some (eg this one or one of these), but you can also find them in most retail accessory stores like JB HiFi, for example.

Personally, I’ll probably just use my phone because I don’t need a giant display, and I also don’t have a smaller 7-inch tablet available to use (I lost mine on a Qantas flight.. woops). If you do have a tablet, though, you might find the user experience much more enjoyable.

Are you going to find a way to hack Android Auto into your car following today’s news? What’s your plan of attack?

 

 

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

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16 Comments on "With Google’s Android Auto going stand-alone, what’s the best way to add it to your car?"

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Member

Tried installing Android Auto on my OnePlus One, but it has consistently resulted in my battery getting chewed up quite rapidly. As soon as I uninstalled it, my battery usage is back to normal.

TheCatMan
Valued Guest
TheCatMan

@ozcjr:disqus Are you sure Android Auto can be installed on a tablet? I have a Nexus 7’12 and a new Samsung Galaxy Tab A (7″). gPlay will not install AA on either tablet with no explanation on why these tablets are not compatible. I am off to NZ (South Island unfortunately) and will be taking my TabA with me. Was hoping to use AA whilst there. But I cannot install it from gPlay nor as an APK install from APK Mirror. So just wondering if Tablets are actually supported at the moment.

TheCatMan
Valued Guest
TheCatMan

@Chris Are you sure Android Auto can be installed on a tablet? I have a Nexus 7’12 and a new Samsung Galaxy Tab A (7″). gPlay will not install AA on either tablet with no explanation on why these tablets are not compatible. I am off to NZ (South Island unfortunately) and will be taking my TabA with me. Was hoping to use AA whilst there. But I cannot install it from gPlay nor as an APK install from APK Mirror. So just wondering if Tablets are actually supported at the moment.

Fred
Valued Guest
Fred

This app STILL doesn’t have “OK Google type functionality. Yes, they still expect you to press an on screen button to speak to it.

So I’ve got more sane car functionality not using it, than I do with it running.

You couldn’t make it up.

Chris
Valued Guest

Google never said it was available yet, it’s coming ‘soon’, by which we understand they mean a couple of weeks.

Don’t use Android Auto if it isn’t for you.

Member

I’d considered using a tablet, but the problem is that you can’t receive calls through the car’s system.

Member

If your tablet has has an active SIM card, it has a number. Perhaps divert your mobile phone to your tablets number, connect your tablet to your cars bluetooth. 😉

Chris
Valued Guest

That’s if your tablet has the necessary software for making/receiving calls. Not all do.

Nick
Valued Guest
Nick

No mention that simply touching your phone is against the law? Android Auto or not)

Chris
Valued Guest
Why should we mention that, when it simply isn’t the case? You can touch your phone, provided it’s in a commercially manufactured holder securely affixed to your vehicle. In NSW, for example, see here: http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/mobilephones/know-the-rules.html The rules are basically the same in Victoria, see here: https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/driver-safety/mobile-phones-and-driving You’ll notice that in the article we specifically referred to using a phone mount / tablet mount to hold devices securely in place. At no point did we advocate (or even mention) just holding your phone in your hand while driving. Next time, don’t just spread ill-informed assumption about what’s illegal or not. Do… Read more »
wakkawalla
Valued Guest
wakkawalla

unless nick is learner or p1, or soon to be banned p2 drivers
ps. im a p2 driver with one year left 🙁

Chris
Valued Guest

There is that.

Phill Edwards
Valued Guest
Phill Edwards

I have a Nexus 7 (1st edition) kicking around which never gets used because it’s so rubbish. But it could be just the job for this.

Member

You can’t install android auto on a nexus 7?

Phill Edwards
Valued Guest
Phill Edwards

Why not?

Member

I like your thinking! I will try doing the same.

Of course, I really do need a new head unit as well, as my current one has no bluetooth integration for proper hands free calling, and using my phone (in a car mount) on speaker is getting annoying.

wpDiscuz

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