For a few years now I have been wanting to upgrade my aging old car’s Head Unit, or otherwise called Radio or Stereo System, to a newer system that has Android Auto or Apple Car Play.
If you haven’t tried Android Auto or Apple Car Play yet, you should try and test drive from newer car models. They will blew your mind compared to old stereo system.
Some of the things that I find very significantly better:
1. Excellent voice assistant in Google Assistant/Siri. You can ask them to call/text someone, ask the weather, play a game, music, podcast, audioobook, search the web, write a reminder, appointment, etc.
2. Excellent Google Maps or Waze navigation. Unlike built-in GPS, these phone’s GPS app can avoid traffic, report if there is a police or mobile speedcam ahead, and automatically updated. It’s also free. For life.
3. The above are the top things that make improvement to your car. However there are other smaller things, such as easier navigation of the phone using the car’s buttons. You can check email, messages, weather, notes. All without touching your phone.
The downside of this is that, it’s very expensive to replace. In Australia, you are looking from $400 to $1500 to buy the hardware, with extra $3-400 for installation. That will give you brand like Kenwood, Pioneer or Sony.
However I found that the best and cheapest replacement for your old car’s audio system can be had with just AU$79. Yup, that’s right.
Let me introduce you to Amazon Echo Auto. And I will tell you something that none of the reviewers have mentioned about this.
Now you may have heard how poorly made this product is. However it should be noted that it is not the device that is poor, but it is the Alexa. Surprisingly the Echo Auto works with “OK Google” command. So the Echo Auto provide the connection from your phone to the car via Bluetooth. If your car already have Bluetooth, then you don’t really need this. However I find that car manufacturers uses cheaper Bluetooth technology that has audio latency. Some of them is quite extreme to be over 1 second. This means when Google respond to your question, it may head its own answers as a command to itself. This makes playing a Guess Song game for example is impossible.
That’s where the AUX jack in Alexa comes in handy. If your car has 3.5mm port, then this has no latency at all. So now your phone is connected via Bluetooth to Echo Auto, and the car is connected to Echo Auto via audio jack.
Finally you just need to enable Android Auto each time you enter the car. This can be done with IFTTT, or Tasker or Trigger app, by launching the app whenever you are connected to Bluetooth, and closing it when you are disconnected.
When you are done, admire your own work, and that you have now saved a good $700 at least. How about donating some of that to me? 🙂