Tag Archives: Android

Automatic driving monitor now available for Android

When paired with the Automatic hardware, this app helps drivers save money at the pump and drive more efficiently.


CNET Car Tech

Unlock full Android app mirroring on your dashboard with this AppRadio hack

With the help of a modified app, we were able to open AppRadio mirroring of the entire Android interface.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

The Pioneer AppRadio is one of our favorite car stereos thanks to its ability to display and control certain car-centric apps with its 7-inch touchscreen in your dashboard. While the list of supported apps is long, it’s far from all-inclusive. The AppRadio app on your smartphone powers the on-screen interface for the car stereo and acts as the gatekeeper, deciding what apps on your phone can be displayed. But what if you want to use a navigation app that isn’t on the supported list? If you’re an Android user and don’t mind tinkering with your phone’s software, you’re in luck.

AppRadio Unchained is a modified version of the default app that throws that gate wide open and (for better or worse) allows users to access any app on the paired phone via the AppRadio’s touchscreen controls, greatly increasing the usefulness and user-friendliness of this already great hardware.

Beware, here be dragons: The steps described below involve installing modified software on your handset to unlock questionably legal and unsupported operation of the Pioneer AppRadio hardware. Exercise caution before proceeding at your own risk.

Here’s what you’ll… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Google reportedly partners with Audi for on-board Android

Google is reportedly hitting the road for its next battle with Apple for mobile OS market share.

The Web giant has teamed with carmaker Audi to develop in-car entertainment and information systems based on the Android operating system, according to the Wall Street Journal. The aim of the partnership, which is expected to be announced next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, would allow for in-car integration of music and navigation apps currently available on smartphones, sources told the Journal.

The partnership is expected to generate a challenger to Apple’s iOS in the Car, which aims to integrate users’ iPhones with their car’s onboard receiver or “infotainment” system. Unveiled in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, the feature is expected to provide an interface that lets users control things like music, messages, and maps right through the vehicle.

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Automate your Android phone in the car with NFC, Bluetooth

Here's everything you'll need to automate your phone in the car.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

A few weeks ago, Garmin released a car kit that uses NFC to automatically launch the Navigon navigation app when a compatible smartphone is placed within its arms. Being an Android fan and a tinkerer at heart, my first thought was, “I could DIY something better than that,” and now I’m going to show you how.

You’ll need:

  • An NFC compatible Android phone. I’m using the LG Nexus 4, but check your specs to make sure that your personal handset is compatible with the technology.
  • An app that can receive instructions from NFC. I’m using Trigger — the app formerly known as NFC Task Launcher.
  • An NFC tag. You can find them for cheap online, but I’m going to be reusing an old transit pass. If you have one lying around, give it a try and you may save a few bucks.
  • Some sort of car cradle. I’ve got dozens of these lying around my desk, but any suction cup or adhesive mount tha… [Read more]

    Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

2014 Pioneer car audio line supports Android over USB

(Credit: Pioneer)

Pioneer joins the all too short list of car audio manufacturers to support media playback and browsing on Android phones with the announcement and launch of its 2014 lineup of CD receivers: the DEH-X6600BS, DEH-X6600BT, DEH-X5600HD, DEH-X4600BT, DEH-X3600S, DEH-X3600UI, DEH-X2600UI and FH-X500UI.

All eight models in the new 2014 lineup of Pioneer single-DIN DEH recievers (and the double-DIN FX-X500UI) are able to browse media stored on a USB-connected Android phone with the aid of the media transfer protocol (MTP), which has been adopted by the Android operating system as of version 4.0 to handle all file transfers. (Older Androids made use of the same mass storage protocol that USB drives do.) Once connected, the receivers will be able to browse and playback digital audio files stored locally.

Related stories:

If the system works like I expect it will, users may end up having to browse the sometimes confusingly organized Android … [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

BMW updates online services, supports Android

BMW announced new features and a reorganization of the online features in its iDrive cabin electronics interface.

(Credit: BMW)

Almost every new BMW model will come with an integrated SIM card, enabling a dedicated data connection into the car. BMW also announced this week that it would release an Android version of its Connected app, currently only available on iOS, this summer.

This week’s announcement comes as part of a larger reorganization of the connected components of BMW’s iDrive cabin electronics.

As we saw in BMW 750Li, recently reviewed by CNET, the automaker currently includes music coming in through satellite radio, traffic data delivered as an FM radio signal, the BMW Online service, and the BMW Connected app for smartphone integration.

The reorganization does not actually consolidate these disparate features, but seems as if BMW is starting to get a handle on an area it let run wild. BMW says that it will include a dedicated data connection in most of its new models to power the BMW Online services. These services are built into the car, and include Yelp, stocks, news, parking garage information, destination photos, and many others. Owners can selectively install the online services they find the most useful.

[Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

This Android traffic app starts fast, but eventually leaves you stranded

The latest update to the Inrix Traffic app for Android is a fairly large one. The app gets a visual refresh that makes use of Android’s Holo design language. An updated and clearer Places screen makes it easier for drivers to estimate travel times and share those times with others.

Inrix is, simply, a traffic app. It will let you know how much traffic you’ll encounter on your way home and to work, but it won’t actually give you directions as to how you’ll get there. Can such an app be useful? Let’s take a closer look at Inrix Traffic for Android and find out.

What does it do? When you fire up the Inrix app, you’ll be taken to the Places screen. Here you’ll find estimated drive times for preset Home and Work destinations that can be set in one of the app’s settings menus. Each of the destinations has two estimates for the arrival time and driving time for two potential routes.

The Places screen is where you'll find travel time estimates for Home and Work.

(Credit: Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

Clicking a Share icon to the left of each drive time allows the users to share the route and travel estimate with any of their contacts via e-mail or text message. Additionally, users can set a favorite e-mail or phone number for messaging for sharing to via the resulting Share menu.

At the bottom of the Places screen are icons that take the user to a Scorecard scre… [Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Car Tech’s guide to using your Android phone in the car

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

As a CNET reader who’s addicted to tech, you likely already know why a phone and the apps therein can be useful in the car. Your phone is a hub for your music and entertainment, GPS navigation, and communications with your friends, family, and social circles. You’ve got your apps for streaming music and podcasts from the web, apps for picking a place to eat or finding the lowest fuel prices around, and your hands-free calls of course. Or, because phones are such personal devices, your handset can only bring a few of these things to your driving experience.

You’re in charge of why you’d want to use your Android phone in the car. The tricky part is figuring out how to do it and how to do it safely. Read on.

Bluetooth For the last few years and for most of the Android OS’s lifetime, Bluetooth’s Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) has easily been your best bet for connecting an Android phone to most newer model vehicles. This is especially true if you’re already making the Bluetooth wireless connection for the Hands-free Profile (HFP) to make voice calls–using A2DP kills two birds with one stone. Often, A2DP connected stereos can display artist and title data for the currently playing song and almost always includes shortcuts (either onscreen or accessible by steering wheel buttons) for play, pause, and skip.

Bluetooth-to-stereo audio streaming does have one minor d… [Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET