Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Fresno, CA
My Ride: BMW
Android on a Dynavin. On a VERY LIMITED number of units Dynavin has replaced the current WindowsCE based GPS hardware with Android hardware. Due to very limited parts availability and very long lead times dynavin will only be making a handful of these units over the next months.
Regular availability is not expected until late this year. Expect the Android units to be VERY hard to come by until then. For the foreseeable future Dynavin will continue to produce a regular supply of the windowsCE based units as well.
Those of you who are familiar with Android know that it is a popular open source mobile device operating system that can run "apps" and in theory allow the dynavin to increase its functionality without the need for "hacks." For those of us who manage to get our hands on these Android units, lets try to compile our experiences, tips, tricks, and new uses here.
In the interest of keeping this post clean and concise lets keep discussion to only the android related elements of this unit and lets not go into detail about the rest of the dynaivn info, that can still be found in the Dynavin Info thread here:
If you are not familiar with Dynavin please start by reading ^this^ thread first.
Please do your part to keep this post informative by posting any questions or comments not pertaining to Android in the other thread.
The Radio/DVD/CD/ipod/USB/bluetooth interface is the same as the windows based V5 units that we are familiar with. No changes there. Just the WindowsCE part of the unit that runs the Nav program has been replaced with android hardware. So at first the Dynavin Android starts up and all the car stereo stuff is pretty much the same as the Dynavin that we are already familiar with, But press the NAV button and everything is different.
The Dynavin E46 Android works with a USB Wifi antenna (included from me, dont know about the other vendors) to tether to a wifi hotspot or phone with wifi hotspot capability for internet/data access. Similar to the existing Dynavin windowsCE wifi hack but minus the hack part.... Dynavin will also offer a 3G modem that will require an additional data sim card with its own data plan from your cell carrier. Just like an android smartphone or tablet, access to the internet is necessary to make the most of the unit.
One VERY important note: apparently many android devices dont support "ad hoc" wifi connections, they dynavin is one of them. While your home wifi and most mobile phones use "infrastructure" wifi, I found that my jailbroken iphone 3GS running the Mywi app DOES NOT. Since it is an ad hoc wifi, android doesnt see it and I cant tether to it. The iphone 4 DOES provide infrastructure wifi.....upgrade time for me! DO NOT assume your phone has the right kind of wifi hotspot. Confirm this BEFORE you buy an android dynavin or be prepared to change phones if necessary
Android runs google maps for navigation which in this application is a great program.
Plus the inclusion of Google "places" and "Street View" integrated with Navigation takes in car GPS to the next level...
but just like on your phone, it needs internet access to run, you will need an offline navigation app to make it a TRUE GPS system, plus its a little much to deal with while driving. Because this is Android there are many apps available and this choice is being left up to you.....
I tried out the Copilot Navigation app and found that it works well on the dynavin and is an offline map solution. Its not as pretty as google maps but it will work for those times when you are not in cell range. You download the app and the maps (you can download the maps on the dynavin or your computer). This isnt rocket science but you do need to have a working knowledge of computers and androids app download process to make this happen however.
The Android version of the dynavin uses the same touch screen as the windows version, so no multitouch. Its got zoom buttons where necessary.
Gestures however need to be deliberate as this is just a standard automotive style resistive touch screen, dont expect ipad type response! I find it works best if I use the edge of my fingernail for gestures.....finger tips are fine for button presses.
The standard Android media player is pretty good.....better than the other music player options on the dynavin. Album art, artist, albums, songs, playlists. Nice. The only downside is androids default color scheme of black, dark grey, medium grey makes for a really washed out display in daylight....I really had to crank up the screens contrast to have good visibility during the day. The dynavin already has its visibility issues, dark grey letters on a black background dont help.
There are other media player apps of course so you can select whatever you like....Ive tried out a few others as well....this is "Double Twist"
There are of course an endless supply of apps but here are a few that people are enjoying:
For those of you who have this unit installed, follow the following instructions to get your unit correctly configured (and avoid needless frustrations)
Once your unit is plugged in and running, play around with it for awhile to figure out the basic functionality so the following makes sense....
1: IF your dealer has sent you any firmware updates, install them now, follow the instructions EXACTLY, DO THIS WITH YOUR CAR RUNNING, having a dead battery during a firmware update could be harmful to your dynavin.
2: Press the MODE button to access the source selection screen, press the settings icon in the lower left (gears). I prefer to uncheck all four options:
-Navi Sound....makes it so that android sound comes from all 4 speakers instead just the front (remember that the android part is intended to run the Nav program)
-RDS....radio data system....will display radio station and song data, thats nice but it also transmits time data and when your radio station screws up the time it will screw up your clock.
-Beep....Self explanatory.....makes that annoying beep go away.
-Brake....makes it so you can see video without getting a warning message.
3: Go to the source selection screen again and choose AUX as your source, then take the remote control, hold down the 9 button to bring up the factory settings menu. You will see some settings.....change the radio region to USA1 and if you have a car with the OEM amp in the trunk (all US spec cars do) you will set the AMP setting to ON. Once you are done setting it just let it sit for a minute and the menu will "time out" and go back to AUX.
4: Now to access the android side of the unit you will use the NAVI button, it will toggle back and forth between the radio side of the unit and the android side. Almost every app on the android side has its own volume control that is controlled by the volume icons on the status bar at the top of the screen, if the volume settings for any given app are too high the sound will be be distorted, turn them down to a moderate level for best results.
5: The android part of the unit gets its time settings from the GPS receiver, in the time and date settings you will need to uncheck the "Automatic" time option in order to set your time zone but be sure to recheck "automatic" before you leave this menu so that it will continue to automatically get the time data from the satellites.
6: After you set up a wifi connection between your dynavin and wifi hotspot, I find that it connects most reliably if the hotspot is active when the dynaivn starts up, so I activate the hotspot on my phone as I am walking up to my car. Then when I start the car, the dynavin starts, the android system boots up, scans for wifi, and wifi connects. It takes a couple minutes but it does this fairly reliably. If you start the hotspot after the unit is on the unit may or may not automatically connect. In this case I find that if I toggle the wifi off and back on in android, it will connect after a minute or two. Of course, this is wifi, so your results may vary depending your your wifi source, what works best for me may not work best for you!
Ive been muddling around with this for a couple weeks now and im getting the hang of it. Its important for you guys to understand that this a flexible platform.....so out of the box its limited and basic, just like any android device, really making the most of it requires some amount of technical aptitude and a willingness to experiment to get all the settings dialed in and get all the right apps doing what you want them to do.
There is obviously a huge amount of potential here....I cant wait for some of you android experts to get your hands on this thing and really see what it can do. Im sure as we begin to get these in our cars and have some time to experiment there will be lots of interesting options ond new uses to explore.....I will update this post as we go.
Here is a short video showing my unit now that ive had it for awhile and have dialed things in quite a bit, running an app called "launcher pro" that give a lot of control over the appearance and function of the homescreens and apps.
To be continued....
Last edited by jeffb325@NavigationSolutions; 06-24-2011 at 10:29 PM.