Pioneer AppRadio 2 - Car stereo Android Integration

Discussion in 'Off Topic Forum' started by blinden, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. blinden
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    blinden New Member

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    Not sure where to post this, because it kinda fits into a lot of categories, but not directly into any, so, I'll try and dump it into off-topic.

    So, this has been out for a few weeks, and I've been waiting to hear some info on how the Android side of things works. The original appradio was iOS only, but Pioneer has decided this go around to support Android, and I would like to support them for their efforts, but I want to know what I'm getting into.

    Here's pioneers link to the product for those who are not familiar: http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/AppRadio/AppRadio+2+(SPH-DA100)

    T
    he android connect kit is an extra $100, but seems to only supply an HDMI cable and a USB charger, so, that was my first question was if I could just buy a $10 HDMI cable off monoprice and skip the connection kit. Secondly I'm wondering how well certain apps work, namely Pandora and Google Maps Navigation.

    If the stereo simply did a touch screen HDMI mirroring of my phone, I think that would be enough in itself to satisify me, but I was just hoping maybe someone had some first hand experiences. Everything I found is still iOS centric, but I would really like to get behind pioneer and buy this for their efforts to support the Android users.

    I've been reading appradioworld.com, but they seem to only have an iphone to test with, not much android info available there.
  2. jmtudor
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    jmtudor New Member

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    Have had it for 2 weeks

    I have a Motorola Bionic, it is not one of the listed compatible phones for this head unit. I have the SPH-DA100, and purchased the connectivity kit and the backup camera. I also installed the toggle-switch hack (for the emergency brake wire) and ran an HDMI directly to the dash/android dock from the back of the head unit. Couple of comments on your question:

    1) The main benefit of the connectivity kit is two-fold: a) for phones that have an MHL connector (mine does not), this relatively new connector combined HDMI and USB, meaning one cable can now supply both power and HD video/audio. The connectivity kit allows this feature from the head unit and the union occurs behind the dash, with one MHL cable going out to your phone; and b) The connectivity kit comes with a power brick (behind the dash install) that supplies USB power cable. In my case I ran an HDMI cable directly to my phone, and a USB from the powerbrick (so two cables going to my car dock). If I upgrade to an MHL-capable device, the extra connection in the kit will be nice to have (but I have all the same functionality with my current install, albeit I had to hack the car dock to accomodate).

    Am assuming because my phone is not on the compatible list, that my experience with the appRadio software is not valid. I currently just use the WebTop app that is native to Android and it mirrors my phone onto the 7" Pioneer screen. Granted I have no touch functionality on the head unit (this is the benefit of the AppRadio tie), but my dock gives me access to the phone, so that's a workaround for me. I bought this unit in spite of the Bionic not on the approved list because I assume they will be updating the radio with a flash kit and that may give me compatibility (big gamble), and I also might just upgrade my phone anyway to an MHL device that is compatible in the future.

    I criticize the manual for not including all the features, and not being very clear on how to do some things (page 41, for example, is not clear on how to get the rear camera to show permanently, not just when the car is in reverse). Other itsm are not well documented either. But I like the unit overall and would recommend it for those who don't mind tinkering. It's not something I would recommend for the non-technical person who wants everything to just work (e.g., the evil apple freaks...ha).
  3. machambe
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    machambe New Member

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    I've got the Bionic as well and i was really excited about this headunit coming out. If I got the AppRadio hook ups for the $100 would there be increased functionality? IE touch screen? also does the pandora app work that's one of the main reasons i wanted it. Can you supply a video of it working with your current set up or someone else whose got the pioneer android cable. Thanks in advance for any other feedback.
  4. jmtudor
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    jmtudor New Member

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    There is no increased functionality with the $100 cable hookup from an application standpoint. However, for you to be comortable with my statement, you should answer two questions--1) How do you plan to get power to your device? and 2) How will you get HDMI connectivity? THose are the two features of the Pioneer kit, but you can accomplish both by other means. As I mentioned before, the biggest advantage of the Pioneer kit is if you have an MHL connector (the kit combines the two cables into one behind the dash).

    On your other two questions:
    1) Touch Screen: The Pioneer touch screen works fine for its own built in apps, like the Radio, settings, camera, etc. The ONLY time it works as a surrogate touch screen for the Android phone device is via the "AppRadio" icon. THis statement is partially clarified by the fact that the Pioneer Phone settings work within Pioneer's own touch system. By that I mean that when you connect your phone via BlueTooth, the Pioneer unit will automatically begin transferring your phone book to its own memory repository. Because Pioneer now has your data, the touch systems work accordingly (e.g., you can search your contacts, dial, etc.). So this phone functionality works independently from the AppRadio connection. The phone is all BlueTooth and internal touch screen. The other clarification is that there is a dedicated Pandora app, but I have been unable to consistently get that to work natively to Pioneer, and I don't know what I did that made it work the two times it worked. But when it worked, it was much better GUI than the Android, in that the Pioneer has more screen real estate and offers some options not available in my Android-only rendition, like time elapsed/remaining bar for each song, more detail on the song playing etc., and all the buttons work (thumbs up/down, etc.). So that was great. Because I can't get that to consistently work (and this is I'm sure due to my incompatibility issues), I still can use Pandora flawlessly, and do so often, by simply choosing everything from my phone. So because my phone is connected via HDMI, everything plays over the head unit, but the controls/touch screen for this is done native to the phone, not the built-in app in Pioneer. Also, because the media is going through the HDMI port, the digital processing is handled by the Pioneer head unit, not the Motorola phone, which I think is an improvement and the music sounds better.

    The AppRadio button, when I select that, will automatically turn off the radio (if it was playing) and mirror everything on the Pioneer Screen that is showing on my Android phone. However, none of the Pioneer touch screen functionality is available. That setup is simply mirroring the Android screen via WebTop (WebTop is a functionality of either Android or Motorola or both). When I select the AppRadio button, that's how I play my Pandora, my local music, stream Netflix, or whatever else I have installed on my phone.

    So the $100 cable does not add any functionality from a software/app perspective. THis connectivity kit is just that, it's a way to elegantly hook up your devices, supply power, etc. Before I got the connectivity kit I was getting power from a USB cable going into my cigarette lighter (cord dangles from the car mount). My hack of HDMI would get me into the back of the radio directly, and all works that way. With the connectivity kit, I drilled a hole into my dash, covered by a grommet, and have all the cords behind the dash. If I get an MHL device in the future, I can have just one cord coming out of the dash grommett instead of two:)
  5. machambe
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    machambe New Member

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    Cool i'm thinking of pulling the trigger today best buy has a combo pack that makes the connectivity pack for the android free. Then letting them hook it all up for me. I have the "Car dock" from motorola, a separate lighter charger and an hdmi cable to hook into TVs. If i get them to hook it up should i request they run the wires for that as well? how hard is the "hack" to get around the parking brake? i've got a manual vehicle if that matters. Did you install yourself if so how hard is that? i was looking at the Crutchfield packages that come with a hook up for your specific vehicle but i've never hooked up a stereo per say. I've uninstalled them hooked up sub woofers and amps but never installed a headunit.

    Thanks again for all your help!

    [​IMG]

    This is the hook up i should run to use the droid bionic correct? since it doesn't have MHL capabilities?

    -Mike
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
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