The device basically hijacks AA to work. Once it is plugged into the car, you'll see the Android Auto indicator on your stereo. You click the AA button, and it loads the CarDongle. From there you get the basic launcher and the included apps. You can use the Play Store as normal, or sideload apps as well. You don't get access to the standard settings app, unless you install a third party launcher, something like Car Launcher pro.
I didn't end up going out over the weekend, but I'll try and trigger the Google Assistant later today. My one and only USB port in my 2016 Ford Focus is in my center console as well, so we'll see if it picks up anything.
Hi Jerwam, it's too calm for me around here, so I'm going to ask if there is anything I missed 🙂
How are you and your prototype CarDongle? There were some/a lot of updates to Android auto and I'm curious if you found any new niggles or problems...
Bye for now Fred
Hello Fred. There hasn't been any recent tests I've done on it. Everything I've needed it for, it's worked. All I wanted out of the unit was to do away with plugging my phone into the car when I travelled and needed Google Maps. So with the working GPS, I'm happy. I don't use it for video apps or anything, I don't sit in my car long enough to need to run YouTube/Netflix/Amazon Prime on it. Having those apps are just a plus.
On the hardware side, I'd like to see a physical button to get it into recovery incase a bad flash bricks these devices. Not all of us would be capable of popping these open and shorting the pins to do so. I'd also like to see a SIM card slot added to it. That would do away with needing the cell phone altogether. A data only SIM plan is using so much cheaper then one required for a cell phone.
On the firmware side, the only thing I would request out of the CarDongle team would be to figure out how to allow it to run native Android, and not the vanilla option they have on it. That and an option to get a custom recovery on it so we can tweak it and root it. There is a lot of potential for this little device, just not sure how far the CD team want to take it.
With COVID the way it is around the globe I'm just not getting out on the road like I used to. Myself, my car, and the CarDongle are just sitting at home more often then not. When I do go out, the CarDongle device is what I use to get around, even if I know where I am going. Using Waze or Google Maps with live traffic updates allows me to bypass the crap traffic in and around Toronto Ontario.
Wow, thanks for the comprehensive report. I'm still waiting for a unit to begin testing and evaluating. Anyway all of your findings make good sense to me.
Some of your wishes (e g. the physical button and the SIM slot) might come with v2.x, unfortunately not now.
Regarding rooting: That should be possible if CarDongle doesn't active block bootloader, let's wait and see...
At least now my hopes are high to receive a unit I can make working in the way I want to use it (e g. running OBD2 software, modify car settings on the fly etc ). Thanks again for your input.
Greetings from Germany and bye for now Fred
Sorry, no not yet. I'll do that later today. I noticed the CD team are potentially upgrading the mic in the production release of the v1.5, so I don't expect my tester unit to work well under the arm rest in my center console. I'll give it a test on my lunch break.
It actually seems to work alright. Google Assistant wasn't pre-installed, but once I got that done it seemed to work alright. It was slow to respond, but as this is a lower spec'd testing unit, that is to be expected. I was timing how quickly my Pixel 4 XL responded and the CD device, the Pixel was always faster. Hopefully with the proper spec'd CD device it'll work just that much better.
It actually seems to work alright. Google Assistant wasn’t pre-installed, but once I got that done it seemed to work alright. It was slow to respond, but as this is a lower spec’d testing unit, that is to be expected. I was timing how quickly my Pixel 4 XL responded and the CD device, the Pixel was always faster. Hopefully with the proper spec’d CD device it’ll work just that much better.
Thanks for doing this, this is good to know. I was using an old phone a a dedicated Android Auto phone. One of the problems it had was Google Assistant couldn't make a phone call after I did a search and found a phone number (the phone didn't have its own cell plan). Doing the same thing with my regular phone when connected to Android Auto works fine.
Did you try placing a phone call through Google Assistant?
I don't understand why there isn't an option to use the car's microphone. This can be done with Android Auto so it shouldn't be that hard for Cardongle to do it.
No, I was just doing the basics like asking it where the nearest gas station was, how to get to work, that kind of thing. It interacted well with Google Maps, and with the working antenna, it was able to guide me where I needed to go.
As the CD doesn't have a cell plan, I'd assume it wouldn't work. I don't generally connect my CD to my phone via Bluetooth, but I can try that for you.
Loosing the ability to use Google Assistant to search for a phone number and then have it call that phone number wouldn't be good for me. If the unit is supposed to be able to replace a phone with Android Auto it seems like this would be a necessary feature. Can't Cardongle connect to my phone like my car's headunit can to have the features? Or is it possible to connect both Cardongle and my Android phone simultaneously so I don't lose any features?
Thanks for your efforts.
It doesn't work. It'll go and try to dial the phone number, but then say app not installed, it doesn't look to pass the call to the phone, it just wants to make the phone call locally.
It doesn’t work. It’ll go and try to dial the phone number, but then say app not installed, it doesn’t look to pass the call to the phone, it just wants to make the phone call locally.
Dang, I hope there is a work-around for this.
I received mine from the initial test on my KIA stinger GPS and everything is working fine except two issues
First: I can't output phone sound to the car speaker even with option in setting is on, my car asking me to remove use device to connect to Bluetooth.
second: LED lights stays on after shut off my car.
Can you output your phone music or podcast sound to your car while using CarDongle?
I don't have a CarDongle. I'm waiting to see how this all shakes out and then decide if it would be better than using Android Auto on my cell phone. Android Auto meets my needs other than an app that isn't supported in AA. Right now I have a workaround to use the app but I don't know how long that is going to last.
Hello Bosaad, what version are you testing? The v1 or v1.5 device? The only working one I have right now is the v1, so if that is what you have, I can perform some tests for you. If however you have the v1.5 device, I'll need to wait for a new firmware to come out as mine currently isn't working in the car.
I guess is you have a v1.5 device, my next question would be is yours still working?