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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Will Standalone Android Head Units Be More Desirable Than Android Auto?

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have brought smartphone features and apps to your car's dashboard in a safe interface. Safety while driving is of utmost importance when using your car's entertainment system. Apple and Google achieve this by restricting users to a structured and non-customizable interface.

So where do standalone Android head units fit in?

Bring Android Auto To The Car You Already Own For Under $550 [Deals]

Google's Android Auto is the latest in-car software that allows you to use smartphone applications in your car. Aftermarket solutions to enjoy Android Auto are now available from Pioneer Electronics for the car you already own.

Pioneer has three double-DIN head units for sale that offer Android Auto (along with Apple CarPlay and a host of robust features). The three head units are the Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX, Pioneer AVIC-7100NEX and Pioneer AVH-4100NEX. 

You can purchase one of these head units from Amazon or eBay at prices which are markedly lower than the suggested retail price. The entry level AVH-4100NEX is priced below $550 at the moment. The latest prices are below with affiliate links to purchase...

Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX (SRP = $1400): Buy on Amazon$905.00 Buy on eBay$891.30

Pioneer AVIC-7100NEX (SRP = $1200): Buy on Amazon$817.95 Buy on eBay$811.94

Pioneer AVH-4100NEX (SRP = $700): Buy on Amazon$537.00 Buy on eBay$529.93

You will need a compatible Android smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop to be able to use Android Auto. For Apple CarPlay, a compatible iPhone running iOS 7.1 or later is required. Also, make sure to check car-specific requirements for installing an aftermarket, double-DIN head unit.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easily Toggle Android Auto Auto-Launch On A Pioneer NEX Head Unit

One main difference between Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto is that the latter locks you out of your smartphone. In other words, when connected to a compatible head unit, you won't be able to use your Android smartphone for any tasks other than Android Auto.

If you are familiar with CarPlay, it launches automatically when connected to a compatible head unit like Pioneer NEX. The iPhone needs to be unlocked though. This is fine because you can still press the home button on your iPhone and use it for other things (like checking the weather before you start driving). The CarPlay homescreen will continue to be displayed on the head unit.

With Android Auto you are out of luck. But Pioneer has added a smart toggle setting for users to their second generation NEX devices which will allow you to launch Android Auto only when you want to.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Don't Err! Use A Reliable Lightning Cable For Apple CarPlay [Lightning Cable Roundup]

Apple CarPlay brought to an end a lot of cable kit woes for many people. The technology requires a single lightning cable connected to a compatible head unit to work. The same goes for Pioneer's latest AppRadio One technology. But choosing a reliable cable is important.

I had a cheap USB lightning cable connected to my Pioneer AppRadio 4 all this while. And it worked great, without issues. But just two months after using the $2.99 cable I purchased from eBay, it stopped working.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Will Apple Watch Play Nice With Apple CarPlay? [Opinion]

Apple Watch will go on preview at Apple retail stores in about two weeks. The device goes on sale April 24. Although there is a lot of hype surrounding the product, not much is known when it comes to the little details. Like, how will it work with Apple CarPlay, if at all?

So what should you expect if you've planned to purchase an Apple Watch and already use CarPlay in your car?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

This iPhone 6 Plus Custom Dash Kit Is The Sleekest There Is!

Soundman Enterprises inc has been known to make stunning custom dash kits for various smartphones and tablets. Last year they made kits you can purchase for the iPad Air and iPad Mini. The custom kits require fabrication skills to install but the finished product is bound to be stunning if done correctly.

So when the iPhone 6 Plus was announced it only seemed like a matter of time before dash mounts for the 5.5-inch device started hitting the market. Soundman has been selling their own dash kit (iPhone 6 Plus SIDE SLIDER Kit) for a while now and it looks great.

Full details are below.

Slow Rollout Of Android 5.0 Lollipop Causing Delays In Android Auto Adoption

Android Auto was delivered to customers over the last few weeks via Pioneer NEX head units. But the in-car software from Google requires a smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop. With the 'fragmented' nature of Google's mobile operating system, not all Android users have been able to avail of Android Auto yet.

Although quite a few of the latest Android smartphones have received the Lollipop update, there are many users still waiting for their smartphone manufacturers or carriers to rollout the update for their phones.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[BREAKING] First Generation NEX Users Could Get Android Auto Using Custom Firmware

Just a few minutes ago I posted about a custom firmware listing on eBay for Pioneer AVH-4000NEX head units which brings the latest second generation firmware to those head units. Second generation firmware means Google Android Auto gets enabled for the first generation models.

Turns out, there is custom firmware available for other head units like the AVIC-8000NEX and AVIC-6000NEX. More details are after the break.

[BREAKING] eBay Listing Claims Custom Firmware For AVH-4000NEX Enables Google Android Auto

There is an eBay listing for a custom firmware update for the Pioneer AVH-4000NEX that enables Google Android Auto on the first generation device.

If you remember, Pioneer upset almost all of their first generation NEX customers when they announced second generation devices at CES 2015 earlier this year. The second generation head units have Android Auto capability which first generation devices did not get. No official firmware updates will be released to enable Android Auto on the older models.

But the eBay listing claims to offer the latest in-car technology software to older devices. Full details are below.

First Firmware Updates For Second Generation NEX Head Units Released

Pioneer Electronics has just released the first set of firmware updates for all five second generation NEX head units. The firmware version 1.03 has a few improvements including expanded compatibility with Google Android Auto.

So if you own one of these NEX head units; AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX, AVIC-6100NEX, AVIC-5100NEX or AVH-4100NEX, then continue reading after the break.

Watch This Pioneer AVH-4100NEX User Walkthrough Video [Video]

Pioneer's latest AVH-4100NEX is the lowest price second generation NEX receiver available at the moment. The device is capable of doing both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Since becoming available for purchase a few days back, there have been a few user videos floating around on YouTube showcasing the device. One such video is from 'SIKGTP', which shows an AVH-4100NEX installed in a 2008 GMC Sierra.

Watch the video below...

Protect Your Pioneer AVIC-6100NEX & AVIC-5100NEX Using The Detachable Faceplate

Detachable faceplates are almost unheard of in double-DIN head units. But Pioneer allows NEX users to protect their AVIC-6100NEX and AVIC-5100NEX by using this feature. First generation AVIC-6000NEX and AVIC-5000NEX receivers also have detachable faceplates.

To detach the faceplate (or button bar) of your device, follow these steps...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NEX Head Unit's Protruding Button Bar May Serve An Additional Purpose

When Pioneer showed off the AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) last year, the 'flat face' design made the device look different. Compared to the previous generation AppRadio 3, the newer model had lost its button bar with physical buttons to a flush design with touch keys.

However, Pioneer has retained the button bar in their second generation NEX devices (AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX, & AVH-4100NEX), just like the first generation models. The 'Home' button remains a physical button while the others are touch keys. Nothing's been changed.

But apart from serving as a bar of buttons, the protruding lip-like design may serve an additional purpose.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Buy Pioneer's Newest Flagship Head Unit, AVIC-8100NEX, For Only $929.95 [Deals]

Pioneer's second generation NEX head units are available for sale from various vendors. These receivers are capable of Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay along with a wide range of features like AppRadio Mode, Navigation, multiple media inputs etc., and a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen.

Although the head unit has a suggested retail price of $1400, you can purchase a brand new device for well under $1000 at this time. That's a savings of almost $500!

Amazon has the AVIC-8100NEX listed by 'StereoforU' for $929.95. Supplies are limited and may not last very long. Sales tax may be added in certain states and shipping is FREE. It ships only to the United States.

Click the affiliate link below to be taken to the offer listing page on Amazon. The latest prices on all of the latest smartphone car head units are included in the right column on this website...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

First Android Auto Head Units To Reach Customers Via Pioneer NEX

For those of you eagerly waiting for more information and end-user experiences on Google's Android Auto, the wait might soon be over. Pioneer Electronics has begun shipping its second-generation NEX head units to third-party resellers, authorized dealers and customers. Three of the five NEX receivers are Android Auto-capable.

Second Generation Pioneer NEX Receivers With Android Auto + CarPlay Now Available For Purchase

Pioneer's second generation Networked Entertainment eXperience or NEX receivers are now available for purchase. The devices were unveiled earlier this at CES 2015.

There are five receivers to choose from: AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX, AVIC-6100NEX, AVIC-5100NEX and AVH-4100NEX.

Among the many robust features the NEX line offers, three of this year's models offer Android Auto along with Apple CarPlay. Pioneer's suggested retail prices range from $700 to $1400 but you can get these devices at lower prices already. Keep reading for more details.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Watch This Parrot RNB6 Demo Video Showcasing CarPlay And Android Auto [Video]

In case you missed it, check out this video from Parrot which it released back at CES 2015 showing their upcoming device, the RNB6 (project codename). The double-DIN aftermarket receiver will be capable of both, Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto.

The video also shows the various connection ports available on the device and other features available in addition to CarPlay and Android Auto.

Tim Cook: "Every Major Car Brand Has Committed To Delivering CarPlay" [Apple Event]

The dust is just about settling after Apple's media event yesterday. As we pick through the pieces of information from the keynote, there were a couple of things that were mentioned regarding CarPlay.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, talked about CarPlay in his introductory comments and announced that as of now, every major car brand has committed to delivering software to customers.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Speed Up Your Apple CarPlay Interface With This Quick Tip [Video]

Apple CarPlay has been available to users for a few months now. Although initial feedback has generally been good, there have been some that have complained about the sluggishness of the interface, among other things.

Let's not forget that CarPlay is very much in its infancy and improvements will definitely come in due time. However, there is a way of speeding up the CarPlay interface a little bit at the moment. This tip was sent to us by one of our readers, Daniel Zaglul. He's even made a video to demonstrate. Check it out below.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tim Cook Says Apple Watch Could Replace Your Car Keys

Apple will hold a media event tomorrow, March 9, 2015, which is believed to be dedicated to its upcoming Apple Watch. The 'Spring Forward' event will be held in San Francisco, California at 10 a.m. PDT and CEO Tim Cook has been busy trying to build up the anticipation surrounding the wearable device.

In an interview with the Telegraph last week, Cook said the Apple Watch could replace your car's physical keys or dedicated fob.

EC Touch Updated To Support AppRadio One, Dropping Facebook Support

EC Touch for AppRadio is an AppRadio Mode compatible iOS app that brings together a wide range of functionality and services. Services like YouTube, Spotify and SoundCloud can be accessed from EC Touch.

AppRadio One is Pioneer Electronics' latest feature that allows users to access AppRadio Mode on its 2015 line of DVD receivers using a single USB cable from your smartphone. It eliminates the need for multiple cables or adapters.

The AppRadio app was updated by Pioneer a few days back to add support for AppRadio One and EC Touch has followed suit. The latest version 4.2 will be AppRadio One compatible. The app will also stop supporting Facebook services starting May 2015. Details are below.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Apple Is Secretly Working On Its Own Car... Yes, Car!

This rumor has gained a lot of traction over the last few weeks... Apple is secretly working on its own Car!

Here's Pioneer's Android Auto Demo Video Featuring Second Generation NEX Devices

Pioneer announced the second generation NEX head units back at CES 2015. Three of the five devices will feature both, Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto.

To give potential customers an idea of what to expect from Android Auto on a compatible Pioneer head unit, the aftermarket manufacturer has released a demo video. Watch it below and see how similar Android Auto is to Apple CarPlay, yet different in certain ways.

Pioneer Posts Compatible iOS And Android Phone List For AppRadio One

Pioneer's 2015 line of DVD receivers include the latest AppRadio One feature where users can enjoy AppRadio Mode using a single cable connection from their compatible smartphone. This means no more cluttered cables and adapters needed for both iPhones and Android phones.

The latest receivers (AVH-X7700BT, AVH-X6700DVD, AVH-X5700BHS, AVH-X4700BS, AVH-X3700BHS, AVH-X2700BS and AVH-X1700S) offer robust features but do not include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility.

You will need a compatible smartphone to use AppRadio One on one of these receivers and Pioneer has posted a list of phone on its website with the OS versions that have been tested to work. Take a look below...

Latest AppRadio App Version Now Supports AppRadio One

Pioneer released an update for its AppRadio app last week. The updated version 2.8.3 for iOS now includes support for the latest AppRadio One software.

AppRadio One is Pioneer's attempt to reduce the number of cables required to achieve smartphone connectivity to its head units. With AppRadio One, users will be able to connect and access AppRadio Mode using a single cable. But only the latest 2015 line of receivers are AppRadio One capable.

More details about the update are below the break.