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Old 11-30-2013, 04:33 PM   #1
jeffb325@NavigationSolutions
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Talking /// AVIN ANDROID Multimedia System INSTALLED! Tons of info and pics!!!

So....I hear some of you guys like android......

/// AVIN AVANT all Android Multimedia System






BACKGROUND

Im known on these forums as "the dynavin guy" but recently Dynavin has been moving away from the android stuff to concentrate more on vehicle integration and more conventional, audio driven car stereo/navigation units, mostly in newer cars. While I'm 100% on board with where they are going and excited about everything they have in the pipeline, it has left me looking for a high quality, android powered, solution for you android fans out there. Ive looked at a lot of options and while Im still not 100% convinced that android is the most appropriate OS for a car environment I do know that many of you guys love the flexibility, the apps, and expanded capability that it offers. Dont get me wrong, with the right tweaks it CAN work, but taking a OS designed for a phone or tablet and making it into a car stereo takes a lot of know-how, A LOT of work, and frankly nobody has yet pulled it off in a particularly user friendly way. Until now....


Like many of you here on the forums Ive known "Tommy" aka, "M3evolution", for a long time now, he was one of my early customers for the dynavin android units and is well known here on the forums as the creator of the M3evolution Android ROM that is so popular around here. He has been working on his own, 100% android powered unit for a couple years now and in a coincidence of good timing, Tommy's new company, www.avinusa.com is coming to market with his new Avant Series of vehicle specific, android powered, stereo/navigation, at the same time I am looking for android powered alternatives to compliment my current offerings.

In addition, with the recent proliferation of junk "knock off" units floating around these forums its become clear it was time for me to do something, as a business I dont like seeing crappy low end equipment making inroads, and as a BMW enthusiast and user of this forum I dont like seeing people getting ripped off!

So Tommy and I talked things over and based on our history, similar views on customer service, interest in the "right way to do business", and shared goals, we have decided to add the AVIN USA products to my existing product offerings, so you guys get the best of both of our strengths, my service, vehicle knowledge, and install experience, Tommy's programming, android knowledge, and product development skills.

DISCLAIMER: Just like on my other threads.... I obviously have an interest in this product doing well.... BUT as my history and reputation here shows, im also an honest guy, and im here to help. My writeup here is intended to show the unit as it is, good an bad, as I see it. Its also intended to kick off a conversation for YOU to post the good and the bad, and for us to provide answers and direction to those who need it. Unlike the guys hawking those cheapo knock-off units, taking everyone's money and shipping half functional units, then disappearing.... We will answer your questions, support the products we sell, before AND AFTER the sale. We are not going anywhere.


As I have asked in my other threads, lets keep this clean, Q&A, install info and experiences, keep the (uninformed) opinion, speculation, nonsense, and sales inquiries elsewhere. You can visit my website www.jandtdistributing.com if you are interested in purchasing.


Now on to the good stuff....

INSTALL




The install is pretty typical for an "oem type" head unit, in the box you get the unit, various wiring adapters, all the needed peripheral devices (GPS antenna, usb cable, ipod cable, etc....). Unlike a conventional aftermarket double din install, there is no cutting, no modifications needed. As with any head unit install on an E46 you will of course need to move the HVAC control down to the lower location above the ashtray, we have correct ashtray assembly/brackets on our site to do that:http: www.jandtdistributing.com

Take a look at the install guide on our website if want all the specifics about dash disassembly etc... but here is a quick overview of the process:

Pull the trim, start at the passenger side.





Takeout the vents, pull out the old head unit, radio bracket, relocate the HVAC controls (see the info on my site) and you will have this







plugin the new wiring adapters, antenna adapter, run the ipod cord, GPS antenna, USB extension, etc... where you want them. Its mostly intuitive. Dont forget to plug in the USB wifi antenna!

Once you have everything in you will have this, tuck the main radio plug over to the left, there is some empty space by the gage cluster.





Slide the new unit in....lots of stuff, not a lot of space, I prefer to pull the wiring on the top of the unit so that its all accessible without pulling the unit out, keeps things from interfering with getting the unit all the way back as well.






All done, turn the car on and take a look, its a good idea to test all the connections out before you button everything back up.




When you start the unit up you will see the familiar Android screen, status bar, etc... much like you would see on a phone or tablet, but unlike a tablet or phone this one has been customized for car stereo duty, small icons replaced by big easy to access buttons for the various sources. Along with the normal knobs for volume and tuning and "hard buttons" for track selection, there a couple hard buttons on the left and right for the critical android tasks of BACK, HOME, and MENU. Nice! Makes using android while driving MUCH better as you are not trying to touch a tiny touchscreen icon while driving. The buttons are backlit in the correct BMW amber color, tun on and off with the headlights, but dont dim with the dimmer. Pressing the right side knob will change the screen brightness from full, to dimmed, to off. Finer adjustment is available in the settings menu.



Before we move on, a word about startup. 100% android devices have traditionally had a looooonnnnggggg startup time as they need to boot up the OS before they can do any car stereo related duties, The Avin can be set up to "go to sleep" for a chosen time, like say 6 hours, if you restart the car within this time the unit will "wake up" in only 2 seconds.....VERY fast. That way if you are our running errands and doing a lot of stop and go, you are not constantly waiting on your stereo to boot up. Once past the "sleep" time window the unit will turn off completely in order to not run down the cars battery. Upon starting the car it will need to do a cold boot, about 30 seconds, still VERY good for a unit of this kind. Set the sleep time to 12 hours or 2 days and most people will rarely see a regular boot up, just a quick wake up. See the video below to see the instant startup.

My biggest complaint about previous 100% android units Ive looked at is that they look and act more like tablets than car stereos (Parrot, im looking at you)....not so much here, all the normal stereo functionality is here, volume/tuning knobs, source selection icons, audio controls, etc....its all fairly intuitive and using this thing as a stereo was obviously a top priority here, more advanced android specific functionality is still here, but its not front and center. The screen is not capacitive, its a standard automotive style resistive screen but the implementation is good, scrolling and swiping works relatively well with the fingertip and things in general are responsive and work well. Out of the box the unit is running the "car home" android launcher so the buttons are large, the swiping is minimal, basically everything android related is setup with car use in mind.




RADIO

Pretty standard radio stuff here, simple useable.




CD/DVD

CD/DVDs works as expected, the only thing unusual is that this is being run by android!




IPOD

This part is interesting, ipod controlled by android. The ipod interface is fairly intuitive, standard artist>album>track navigation, you can scroll using the knob or by swiping the screen, nice. My only complaint is the load time, the unit will start playing music from the ipod within seconds BUT there is a substantial load time before you can browse, depending on the size of your ipod and number of tracks. No playlists so if you are a heavy playlist user you might want to use a different music storage solution.....luckily with this being android there are certainly other options for playing music if the ipod player does not fit your needs.




BLUETOOTH

Phone and Streaming, no album art or info displayed when streaming, but the phonebook syncs, and the streaming audio quality sounds similar to plugging in.






DIGITAL MUSIC

You have lots of options here, the built in USB and SD card players are fairly simple, if you just want to load up some albums and go on your way its fine, but it does not allow for advanced searching, its basically just a 2 layer file browser, good if you just have a bunch of albums as its quick and simple, bad if you have an extensive library. Heavy duty users may want to use a different music app like google music, power amp, etc....







NAVIGATION

This being android the default nav app is google nav and all that comes with it. It works nicely but requires an internet connection, there are a number of other offline nav app options available on the google play store however. Copilot, waze, sygic, igo, etc... Some are offline apps, some are online apps, some are a hybrid, most store the map data on the SD card, what works best for you is a matter of your priorities and use patterns. One REAL nice detail here, the NAVI button on the front panel can be mapped to any nav app installed on the unit....so pressing that button is an easy one touch access to nav.



INTERNET BROWSING, EMAIL, ETC....

Since you are connected to the internet you have access to all that you would expect, email, browsing, etc... I dont recommend these things, that is what your computer is for, and most of us have phones now days that do these things just fine. But its here if you want it.






APPS!

A word about internet connectivity......This is android, android is a mobile operating system, mobile operating systems are intended to be connected to the internet. As such you should plan using this device in an internet connected manner. The unit comes with a wifi antenna and while you can connect to any wifi source, you will want to get a mobile wifi hotspot of some kind, typically this is done with a smartphone with hotspot capability (virtually all current smartphones have this).

You can also tether through USB if your phone is capable. Yes that is something you most likely will have to pay for. While you dont NEED to be internet connected for regular day to day stereo related use, you wont be able to do much with any of the android apps as most of them require some kind of internet connection.


Avin also offers an optional 3G SIM card modem but understand that there are many variables involved with getting YOUR carrier's SIM card to work with this modem, this is not something we have any control over and getting it working will be between you and your cell provider. In general I recommend using wifi and a hotspot as its easy to set up and is much more universal so it works easily and consistently.

If you dont intend to be on the internet or utilize the more advanced android app functionality you should probably consider a more conventional car stereo navigation system like the Dynavin units (shameless plug ).


Ill fill this in as these units get out there and we hear back about what people are using.



TORQUE


This one is big and for some people is the primary reason to get an android unit in the first place! Torque is a great OBDII integration app that reads the cars ECU data via the OBDII port and sends it via bluetooth to the Avin's screen, it allows data and performance logging, etc... The unit is ready to run this on out of the box, the app is already installed and configured. Just add the optional bluetooth OBDII plug, search for and turn it on in the bluetooth settings, and you are in business. VERY simple since Avin built the capability right into the unit.








PANDORA





PowerAmp

Stock music player not doing it for you? Try something else! I personally have always liked Poweramp because of all the nice audio controls it gives you, I ran into an issue though as it seems google nav and power amp dont like to play nice with each other and every time I would start up google nav it would turn of poweramp....not sure what that is about and I didnt spend much time trying to sort it out, this didnt happen with any of the other music apps or sources so its something specific....anyway, just thought I should point out that this IS android after all and your results may vary!




Tons of flexibility on some of these apps....



Conclusion.....

So this thing is pretty good, I commend ///AVIN, and Tommy (aka 'M3evolution') on creating as good an android unit as I have seen. Its a competent stereo AND an usable android device at the same time, is not too complicated/technical to use, and is reasonably priced. I still think that android units in general are not for everyone. They are not quite simple "plug and play" units, still require a little bit of "know how" for the more advanced features, and Internet connectivity is required to get the most out of them. If you want a "regular" stereo, you dont intend to tether to the internet, and you dont want to fiddle with technical details, you are probably better off with a convention a stereo solution (our dynavin units, a name-brand single DIN, etc....)

But if you dont mind spending a little time dialing things in, you want internet connectivity, or you just want the flexibility to set things up the way YOU want them, this is going to be a nice solution for you.


Update.....

New Avin Avant-2 units are here.....lots of improvements to make a good unit even better!

Faster processor, lots of RAM, higher res screen, CAPACITIVE multi-touch screen.

http://www.jandtdistributing.com/col...ducts/avin-e46










http://www.jandtdistributing.com/col...ducts/avin-e46
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:02 PM   #2
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Does this have an ambient light sensor for the screen brightness I'm guessing?
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:36 AM   #3
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You press the right side knob to change brightness, full/dim/off. It's pretty simple.
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:57 PM   #4
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Hi Jeff,

Is there an update coming in the near future to have playlist for iPod? I love being able to scroll with the knob but I wonder why it can't do playlists (which I use all the time).

Thanks
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:12 PM   #5
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Im sure there will be updates but its literally brand new....need to get this thing off the ground first! Whether or not a future update would address that particular thing is hard to say. For now, if you are a "playlist person" I would recommend putting your music on a USB or SD card and running an app that has nice playlist integration. Or you can always just control from the ipod, select your playlist and go, not ideal but it would work.
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
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Just placed an order and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Definitely want a playlist update tho. Who doesn't use playlists these days? I've got weeks of music on my iphone. Can't be shuffling all the time.

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Old 12-06-2013, 12:56 PM   #7
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Just placed an order and I'm looking forward to trying it out.
Yep, shipped them out yesterday, make sure you post any hints, questions, or apps you are running in this thread so we can get some good user supplied info going
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:24 PM   #8
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I really hate paying 80$ for a plastic hvac frame. Wish I had the multi button one.
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:07 PM   #9
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Jeff. Installed last night and everything works so far. Thanks for the great customer service and responsiveness. Hard to believe I've got infotainment from a 10 year old car on par with the Teslas and Audi's..and much more.

Will be checking our how stable the build is over the next few weeks. Screen and keyboard are very responsive. I have the gps antenna on the top right corner of the dash and reception works great. Wonder if it works if I out it behind the center vents for a cleaner install.
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tingbro1 View Post
Jeff. Installed last night and everything works so far. Thanks for the great customer service and responsiveness. Hard to believe I've got infotainment from a 10 year old car on par with the Teslas and Audi's..and much more.

Will be checking our how stable the build is over the next few weeks. Screen and keyboard are very responsive. I have the gps antenna on the top right corner of the dash and reception works great. Wonder if it works if I out it behind the center vents for a cleaner install.

The time i have dynavin installed in my E39 that worked just great, also with the Doubble Din Pioneer Avic F10Bt i used to have.

I mounted the Gps antenna at the steel bars that were behind the player
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:56 PM   #11
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I have the gps antenna on the top right corner of the dash and reception works great. Wonder if it works if I out it behind the center vents for a cleaner install.
I'm using the bar behind the vents location on the one we have installed here and it works fine....but as with the dynavin units, your results my vary so do a little testing with whatever location you use before you button things up.

Another good place to try is the factory location, there is a flat spot behind the gauge cluster where the oem gps antenna goes, seems to work well for a lot of people....
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tingbro1 View Post
Jeff. Installed last night and everything works so far. Thanks for the great customer service and responsiveness. Hard to believe I've got infotainment from a 10 year old car on par with the Teslas and Audi's..and much more.

Will be checking our how stable the build is over the next few weeks. Screen and keyboard are very responsive. I have the gps antenna on the top right corner of the dash and reception works great. Wonder if it works if I out it behind the center vents for a cleaner install.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:59 PM   #13
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I should have had mine Wednesday but UPS is afraid of a little snow.

Edit: and I just checked and finally it's here.

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Old 12-13-2013, 10:47 PM   #14
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just pulled the m in the garage and i'm starting the install. i dont have my hvac carrier in yet so it will be a temp install. at the same time ill be removing all the trim. i have this terrible mettalic grey colored trim and the paint is in bad shape. so itll be awhile before erverything is back together.

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Old 12-14-2013, 04:09 AM   #15
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This thing is awesome!

I am posting on the internet from my car stereo while streaming pandora through my cell phone as a hotspot! THE FUTURE IS NOW!

but seriously, this thing is cool.
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:39 AM   #16
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Hhhmmmm.....pulling an all nighter eh?!
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:25 AM   #17
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This thing is awesome!

I am posting on the internet from my car stereo while streaming pandora through my cell phone as a hotspot! THE FUTURE IS NOW!

but seriously, this thing is cool.
Thats awesome! How is the audio quality compared to stock? Can you confirm if you can use steering wheel controls to answer/hang up calls while connected to bluetooth?
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:37 AM   #18
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Thats awesome! How is the audio quality compared to stock? Can you confirm if you can use steering wheel controls to answer/hang up calls while connected to bluetooth?
I'm actually more interested in sound quality compared to Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood etc...

My guess is that it is Superior to stock as it were with the Dynavin units, but the Dynavin wasn't better compared to other well known brands as the one mention above, at least not the 1st gen Dynavin.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:18 PM   #19
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Interesting. Can you also comment on if this install work on a car with OEM Nav (specifically '04 330i or 330Ci/CiC)? Thanks.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:46 PM   #20
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Interesting. Can you also comment on if this install work on a car with OEM Nav (specifically '04 330i or 330Ci/CiC)? Thanks.
Yes, it will work fine with a car with oem nav, you just need the extension harness (they are available on our website) as the radio module (and more importantly, the radio wiring) in your car is in the trunk area, so the extension harness gets all the needed wiring from the trunk up to the dash.
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