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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pioneer NEX Custom ROMs Could Bring Android Auto To Older Head Units

While Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto are relatively closed systems, it doesn't stop developers from looking for hacks. The two softwares run off of respective smartphones but there is a platform that runs natively on dashboard head units which has had the potential for some tweaking.

I am talking about Pioneer NEX.

Developers have had some success exploring the possibility of running custom ROMs on first generation NEX head units over the last two months. They have, so far, managed to boot software directly from the SD card slot on these NEX head units.

Here are some more details.

As always, I have to warn everyone about the risks of performing any kind of software hacks on car head units. There is risk of permanent damage to the hardware and voiding of warranty. Proceed at your own risk.

This started off as an attempt to run custom ROMs on Pioneer NEX back in August of this year. Developers set up a forum thread at AVIC411 Forums with all the juicy details of the project and have been posting regular updates on their progress since. The thread has generated plenty of interest.

This is where the project stands so far. There is a 9-step process outlined on the forum to get you started with booting the head unit in test mode. It uses the SD card and USB port on the head unit. You have to download the custom-built BSP software and run it on the system.

Once you get into test mode, it should be possible to load custom ROMs using a new SD card. As of now, no customs ROMs are available though. But creators of the mod are asking for help developing a working custom ROM which would allow you to do some cool stuff with older NEX head units.

For the record, looks like developers have been using the Pioneer AVH-4000NEX for developing purposes.

The biggest possibility with custom ROMs is someday being able to port Android Auto onto older NEX head units that do not support the software. This, of course, is still many developer hours away.

For full details and to follow the thread, head over to AVIC411 Forums. I will keep an eye on the progress and report back if any more news breaks!

Source: AVIC411 Forums

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