General Digital Car - Front end for Android tablet

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RogerH69, Tuesday 28th Oct, 2014.

  1. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    While trying to find a custom ROM for my Android stick that is designed around being used on an in-car touch screen, I found this app. It's current in Beta, but I'm signing up to it to see how it works on my phone and my Android stick when connected to the Pioneer AppRadio in my car.
     
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  2. Nighthawk Guest

    United Kingdom Richard Milton Keynes
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    Looking forward to see your report on this app. It looks interesting.

    Wish the gen7 Accords didnt make putting aftermarket double dins so difficult. Wanted to do an android install a few years ago.
     
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  3. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    I seem to remember Pioneer releasing a single DIN AppRadio that has a slide out screen and DVD player. Maybe you could look into that ?


    ---- EDIT -----

    Here's an example - Not sure which of them support Android, but if you;re an iFan, then you should be ok (as long as you're happy to be limited to the apps Pioneer officially supports).
     
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  4. Nighthawk Guest

    United Kingdom Richard Milton Keynes
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    The issue is design of the OEM radio - it doesnt allow anything to be added if it is removed. There are a few custom fascia replacements but they either look horrific or would put it in a dangerous place. You can get a lower fascia which gives you a double din slot near the gearlever, but its too low for using sat nav etc to drive safely as you are basically looking at the floor. Also, my nexus 7 can't get a GPS signal from down there, too far buried into the dashboard I think. There is an upper top fascia mount which I am thinking about but still not sure if it will ruin the look of the car or not.

    Petrol gen7s can have a nice replacement OEM looking head which runs android OS, but unfortuanately, it doesnt work on the diesel versions and tends to blow the AC compressor from my research.
     
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  5. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    Ah ok

    Initial impressions of this app are promising, as it sets itself as your phone's launcher. This is promising for use with an Android Stick. I'll have a bit of a play and give a report back soon. I'm already thinking that on my phone, I can use my Tasker profile to set this app as the launcher when it is connected to head unit, and then set my other launcher back when disconnected.
     
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  6. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    So I had a play around with this and like all beta apps, it can be quite frustrating :Grin:

    I was unable to get the app to launch on my Justop K10A Android Stick. This seems to be linked to the need of the software being able to get location details from GPS, and as the Android Stick does not have GPS, and location settings have been removed from the ROM, it silently crashes as soon as you launch it. I thought that I would have more success if I connected the Android Stick to my head unit (as the head unit would provide GPS information) and then launched the app, but it still crashes (just not silently). This is apparently a common issue with this app and Android sticks, but the developer said it's supposed to be fixed, and I see at least one other person has got this app running on an Android stick and AppRadio. I'll keep trying, and feedback here on progress.

    Using it on my Nexus 5 works like a dream and gives me no issues (as long as I am in landscape mode when launching it, as it only supports landscape mode and sometimes crashes if launched in portrait mode). Though I have used other Car launcher type apps (such as Car Home Ultra), I like the look of this app (which can also run as a launcher replacement).

    Things I like -
    1. You can change the wallpaper easily
    2. You can display your car logo in the center of the screen (tapping the compass allows you to display a logo instead)
    3. Looks good on my 7 inch head unit, when running on my Nexus 5. Cannot report how it looks when running on Android Stick yet (which runs in tablet mode, so may look different)
    4. Allows you to hide the navigation keys on KitKat and later, making the whole screen available
    5. Easy to change shortcuts
    6. As it (currently) only provides a limited number of functions, it's easy to get up and running, and looks good in it's default settings
    7. Scroll left and right with finger on homepage of app will goto previous / next media file in the folder
    8. If you goto another app, or the Android desktop, the app shows an overlay button you can tap to go back to Digital Car app
    Things I don't like -

    1. Built in media player is very basic
      1. You need to point it at a list of media files for it to play those files.
      2. You can't make a playlist using media files from different folders
      3. You can't set it to shuffle media files
      4. When you launch the app, it automatically starts playing the last song you were listening to, even if you stopped playing it before you shut down the app
    2. Once you set a shortcut on the homepage, you can't remove it
    3. Media buttons cannot (at least not when I tried) control playback of third party media players. This is an option, but is listed as experimental
    4. You are limited to one page of shortcuts
    --EDIT --
    Though I really like this app, and think it has promise, I'm not using it in my setup at the moment, but will keep an eye on it's progress.

    I also forgot to mention that at the moment, this app is free, but you will not find it on the Google Play Store. You need to join the Google+ community for this app (shown in the page on the XDA Developer forum linked to above) and then sign up as a tester (a simple matter of clicking a link and you're a tester). Once you're a tester, you will be shown a link to where you can download the app (you download the app from Google Play Store, but it's hidden from people not marked as testers of the app). Note it can take up to about an hour for your Google Play Store account to update and give you access to the app.
     
    Last edited: Thursday 30th Oct, 2014
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  7. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    Looks a good app. Thanks for reviewing. It seems its still in Alpha mode, so plenty of time to improve things you've highlighted as not upto scratch.
     
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  8. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    I saw on the developer's Google+ page that he's about to release a new version, so hopefully it has some nice changes. Will feedback here once I see it.
     
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