Home Technology Android Auto: Use Google’s infotainment platform wirelessly anywhere – the most popular...

Android Auto: Use Google’s infotainment platform wirelessly anywhere – the most popular dongles in comparison (videos)

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About Google’s infotainment platform Android Auto To be able to use it, the vast majority of users are still dependent on a permanent cable connection between the smartphone and the infotainment display. Google has neglected wireless use for a long time and now affected users can choose from three dongles that can replace the cable connection. One is even officially supported by Google.

The infotainment variant of Android Auto requires a constant connection to the smartphone for use in the vehicle, because it is known that Android Auto is only run on the mobile phone and only shown on the display in the vehicle. This is sometimes a rather shaky affair, but it basically works and was the most important building block for the rapid spread of Android Auto. However, users were dependent on a cable for a long time and the wireless version has only been slowly being rolled out since last year.
AAWireless, Carsifi, Motorola
Because many vehicles or their infotainment devices do not support the wireless variant, the AAWireless team set itself the task of solving this problem with a dongle – at least with crowdfunding with great success. It didn’t take long before Carsifi, an alternative with the same solution and a similar range of functions, came along. And just a few days ago, Motorola and Google jointly presented a dongle that also does the same thing: establish the wireless connection to the smartphone and ensure communication with the infotainment display. We cannot make the decision between these three providers for you, but we can provide a quick comparison of the most important facts known about the three dongles. The solutions are very similar, but the projects differ in their approach, and it is not possible to say exactly which provider came up with the idea first.

AAWireless


Facts:

  • Start of the project: September 2020 on indiegogo
  • Capital: $3.6 million from 41,344 backers
  • Selling price: 85 dollars
  • Additional: Smartphone change via app, companion app is required, problems with Xiaomi smartphones
  • AAWireless was launched in September 2020 and just a few days later it generated huge hype because it was finally able to offer a solution for using Android Auto wirelessly. A problem that many users would rather have solved yesterday than today. You started with a dummy, which was actually functional and only later received its final form. There is a USB port, an LED and nothing else. Simply connect the device to the infotainment display via USB and you’re done. The dongle practically acts as an antenna for the display and handles the wireless connection to the smartphone. A companion app is required for setup, which only offers the most necessary range of functions. It should be possible to switch between two smartphones, but this is still a construction site and will be expanded with further OTA updates. For a long time, the main focus has been on getting a handle on the production problems that have been plaguing the company for months. This is communicated very openly and makes a good impression. Nevertheless, it was associated with multiple price increases and delays. As of December 2021, you are well on your way and can process all orders. » All information about AAWireless

    Carsifi


    Facts:

  • Start of the project: August 2021 on kickstarters
  • Capital: $400,000 from 4,400 backers
  • Selling price: $89
  • Additional: Smartphone change via magic button, no known problems, should already be on the market
  • Carsifi only started on Kickstarter in the summer of 2021 and was also met with great enthusiasm. Although the hype was much smaller – you could only win about 10 percent of the chapter and the supporters of AAWireless – but the demands were also significantly lower. Carsifi is already a finished product that is said to have already been sold. According to their own statements, they only turn to Kickstarter because they have to change suppliers due to the chip bottlenecks and need a manageable chapter of less than 10,000 dollars for this. The dongle is smaller than that of AAWireless and, in addition to the USB connection, has two LEDs and the “Magic Button”, which is required for changing the smartphone, among other things. Carsifi does not require an app for operation if at least Android 9 is used. A companion app is available, but is only required for one-time setup and configuration. You should therefore not expect many OTA updates, but simply consider the device as “it just works”. The terms “Plug & Play” are used several times in Carsifi marketing. It remains to be seen whether the big promises can be kept, because Carsifi has also been struggling with production problems and the resulting necessary adjustments to the hardware for some time. » All information about Carsifi

    Motorola


    Facts:

  • Start of the project: Unknown. Sales start in January 2022
  • Selling price: $89.95
  • Additional: More or less official solution from Google
  • Motorola’s dongle was only announced a few days ago and, unlike the two crowdfunding projects, will be available in large numbers immediately (ie from the end of January). The product with the official name “Motorola MA1” relies on the same solution as the other two projects and even copied the video concept for the commercial. One can actually speak of a copy, at least as far as the current presentation and the range of functions are concerned. Function, design, advertising and even the selling price are based on the crowdfunding projects. The Motorola dongle does not depend on any additional app and can connect natively to Android Auto and the smartphone. Google set the necessary course in the background. The product name “MA1” suggests the first generation, but due to the range I would not expect successors to come onto the market and major updates are also unlikely. For both Google and Motorola, this is just an emergency solution that you can use to make money on the side and certainly make a large margin. » All information about the Motorola dongle

    AAWireless vs Carsifi vs Motorola

    I think it becomes clear that all three projects are very similar. It cannot be clarified whether the two projects from Carsifi and Motorola would have existed without AAWireless. AAWireless was definitely first to market, Carsifi appeared to be more mature from the start and Motorola of course has the great advantage of the name, established supply chains and backing from Google. It would be really interesting if Motorola and Googlel reacted to the two crowdfunding projects or if such a dongle was planned from the beginning. Technically, the whole thing doesn’t seem to be a big challenge, but in large companies, projects like this pass through dozens of desks and therefore take a little longer. In any case, Google has never officially responded to the two competitors. Incidentally, all three have the big problem that the projects will quickly outlive themselves: the more vehicles that support the wireless connection or the more Android Automotive spreads, the less the products will be needed. However, the entry of Motorola shows that even Google does not expect the wireless version to spread quickly for a long time.

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