Android Based Head Unit Anyone? - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-09-2014, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Android Based Head Unit Anyone?

On my other car forum lots of guys are going on and on about the Android based head units now available for cars like the Ca-Fi Dashlinq. Given that it supports true GPS navigation, USB input, OBDII readers (for Torque and similar apps), and can run pretty much anything right off the Android Play store I'm seriously considering one.

I'm about to order my 2015 Rubicon and was debating between going this route or going with the 430N. For the price this seems a vastly superior option. The only thing I seem to get with the 430N other than the warranty is true satellite radio vs streaming. I don't know that it's enough to justify the cost difference.

Thoughts?

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post #2 of 16 Old 12-10-2014, 02:37 AM
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That looks pretty cool to me, and decent pricing.

Pandora and other music apps make satellite radio obsolete.
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-10-2014, 06:28 AM
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These are direct from Hong Kong radios (not saying that's bad, just saying), and they are all over eBay. There are tons of different versions and styles. Might be worth checking eBay out before buying that one to see if there is a style you like better or a better price.

My cousin bought one for his Chevy truck. There are a lot of things he likes about it, but there are plenty of oddities as well. A few things to keep in mind before buying one.

The basic and obvious things are that the one you linked to doesn't have a CD/DVD slot. Maybe that's not an issue for you, but it's something to keep in mind. Also, Hickey mentioned Pandora, but that would only work if you had a wi-fi hotspot (via a phone, etc., which would use your data). May be obvious, but it's something to keep in mind.

There are some specific things about those stereos as well. His said it supported steering wheel controls, but it didn't work as it should have. The radio he bought did support an IR remote (which it came with), and he bought a special steering wheel controls to IR converter and mounted the IR emitter in the headliner above the stereo, and now his steering wheel controls work via the radio's IR receiver. A round about way of doing it, but it worked. Maybe your Jeep won't even have steering wheel controls so it won't be an issue, but if it's something your are counting on, keep in mind it may or may not work as advertised.

Also, everything is an app (the radio, etc.) so it will only work as well as the app works. And with the radio itself, there aren't many apps available that work with an actual RF receiver (vs internet radio), so you will likely be stuck with what it comes with. The one his includes is pretty good though, so it's not really a problem. But it sometimes isn't quite as smooth and simply as flipping the stations on a standard radio.

I don't know for sure how the system in the Jeeps work, but in his truck the radio was connected to the CAN network (it is in the Jeeps too, but I don't know how much it does), and in his truck all the sounds (door chime, seatbelt chime, headlight warning, turn signals, etc.) all played through the factory radio, and all that is now gone. He loves it, but I'm sure it would bother some to not have blinker sounds. I don't know if that would be an issue with the Jeep or not, and if so maybe it would be an issue with any aftermarket stereo. Just a heads up in case it's an issue the Jeeps.

The included GPS app has off-line maps available, which is good so you don't have to use some form of data for the navigation to work. It was also a pretty good app overall, with cool features and functionality. Unfortunately the app had some kind of error after less than a week and the only help he could find on-line for the problem was that it should be uninstalled and re-installed. Unfortunately it was an expensive program and the only way to re-download it would have been to buy it on the play store. He downloaded a free app instead, which works ok, but is very basic since it's one of the few free apps that supports full off line maps.

There are a few quirks here and there (I don't know all the specifics) just based on the fact that it is a custom Android build, so just keep that in mind.

Last, but possibly most importantly, it doesn't have an accelerometer, so the cool off-road apps with angle meters, etc. don't work.

My cousin ended up keeping his, and some of the features are pretty cool. But he's also not sure if he would do it again. Having an Android stereo is pretty cool, but at the end of the day he has a smart phone, so he doesn't really need any of that functionality in his stereo, and when you are driving the simplicity of a standard radio is nice.

Last edited by BigTB; 12-10-2014 at 06:33 AM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-10-2014, 11:35 AM
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Before you pull the trigger, check out insane jeep. They have an android unit specific to the TJ or JK. Extremely expensive, but the feature set it really nice. Just too much $$ for me.
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-10-2014, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Hank, that looks just like any of the other Android based unit's I've seen so far. Good to know it appears to fix perfectly into the JK. I'm wondering how it interfaces with the factory amp and speakers as well as the factory steering wheel controls. Looks like they're charging an extra $500 for a warranty basically.

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post #6 of 16 Old 12-10-2014, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hickey View Post
That looks pretty cool to me, and decent pricing.

Pandora and other music apps make satellite radio obsolete.
Not so much... unless you live under a cell phone tower and never leave your driveway. Maybe on the way to crawl at the mall.

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post #7 of 16 Old 12-10-2014, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guruman View Post
Not so much... unless you live under a cell phone tower and never leave your driveway. Maybe on the way to crawl at the mall.
Ha! I'm not sure he knows what obsolete means.

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Did you just search for "gay" or "halo" and bump those threads?
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-11-2014, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippman View Post
Hank, that looks just like any of the other Android based unit's I've seen so far. Good to know it appears to fix perfectly into the JK. I'm wondering how it interfaces with the factory amp and speakers as well as the factory steering wheel controls. Looks like they're charging an extra $500 for a warranty basically.
Here's a link to the Insane Jeep Audio forum: http://www.insanejeepaudio.com/forum/

If you can't get the answers to your questions there, email [email protected]. The guy I spoke to is a pretty friendly and informative guy.

One thing that separates Insane from some of the other units on the market that appear to be essentially similar, is that Insane developed their own proprietary Nav engine.

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post #9 of 16 Old 12-11-2014, 09:50 PM
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The gopro function looks like a sweet setup
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-12-2014, 09:28 AM
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Really cool but not $1000 cool.

I have jeeps. I do shit to them.
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post #11 of 16 Old 12-12-2014, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgall View Post
Really cool but not $1000 cool.
The one my cousin bought on eBay was around $350 if I remember correctly. Looks very close to the one the OP linked to, but has a CD/DVD drive. They had more basic models around $200-300. Can't say for certain the quality is the same, but I feel there is a good chance it's the same manufacturer.

I don't know if it was left there after testing or what, but there was a Chinese music video with skimpy dressed chicks dancing stored on it when he received his. It was pretty funny.
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post #12 of 16 Old 12-15-2014, 09:19 AM
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As far as the Pandora comments go, every OEM vehicle boasting Pandora uses your phone for reception via your data. If you don't want to pay for the data use, you won't be using Pandora in any OEM vehicle.

I'm a truckdriver, and I use Pandora every day in my work truck, then at home in all of my personal vehicles. I gave up sirius/xm over 4 years ago.
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post #13 of 16 Old 12-15-2014, 10:53 AM
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Streaming services are great, until you get off the interstate, heck even the interstate here is an issue. Driving the 9 hours trek across Montana on I-90, and you'll be without internet for several of those hours.

If I got in my Jeep and drove west towards Idaho, it would be over an hour before Pandora started playing the first song.

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post #14 of 16 Old 12-17-2014, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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I get where you all are coming from. SiriusXM is nice, I've had it in several of my vehicles. You could always add an inexpensive off-board Sirius tuner and pipe the audio in through one of the aux in jacks or even via Bluetooth if your tuner supports that.

For me, I'd be relying mostly on my MP3 collection when offroading anyway. Don't have to worry about tree-fade that way which can be an issue here in the Midwest depending on where you're wheeling.

I also talked to my cell carrier. It'd cost me $1 for a WiFi hotspot tied to my current data plan and $10 a month for the service. This is charged via a micro-USB charger and could be left in the glove box. This would be great for saving battery life on tethering between the cellphone and the head unit.

Plus having a spare portable WiFi hotspot never hurt. It would also be great for people who still want to bring a laptop/tablet but don't have a cell modem built into them.

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post #15 of 16 Old 12-18-2014, 02:06 AM
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I haven't renewed a Sirius/XM subscription for 6 or 7 years, maybe more. Every time a "free subscription" runs out, I refuse to renew it. Just not interested. Somebody else's programming, and in the Central Valley where I lived when I finally got fed up with them, the connection was constantly cutting out. I can get Pandora on the Pacific Crest, but couldn't get a reliable Sirius/XM signal on the 99 corridor. Plus Pandora lets me listen to what I want to hear. I may have listened to Sirius/XM 3 times during the "free" year I had it on my JK. Wouldn't bother me if all their satellites fell out of the sky, except they're probably piggybacked on something important.

For those complaining about the price, go price a Kenwood, Pioneer, or Alpine Nav unit that won't run Android apps. You actually get more for your money with the JK1001.

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post #16 of 16 Old 12-18-2014, 12:11 PM
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Honestly, I just have a cell phone mount on my dash and I run the phone's audio into my JK's radio. I run all the dashboard apps I want on the android phone and have a memory card in there for music when I'm out of streaming range. Works great and no need to drop $1000 on a head unit.

Going further, I had a 72 Blazer with just an amp and speakers in it. I ran all of my radio/music needs off of the phone there too and it worked great.

I would dump the $1000 into an amp, sub, speakers and come out ahead in terms of audio quality before getting an android head unit.

Just offering up alternative ideas, everyone's got different needs and desires
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