Android Auto has really started to take off over the past few months. With Pioneer’s aftermarket head units becoming available and car makers like Hyundai, Chevy and Buick launching Android Auto in their new models that are driving off dealer lots today. But not everyone is ready for a new car, and not everyone wants to spend nearly a grand on one of Pioneer’s headunits. Even though they have come down quite a bit, the cheapest one is about $500 right now.
XDA user mikereidis has developed an app that will turn your Nexus 7, or really any tablet, into an Android Auto head unit. And it’s probably safe to say that the display will look much better than the 800×480 resolution display that Pioneer’s headunits use. Although, I still don’t think that’s a big deal since you should be watching the road and not that display. It’s important to note that development is early here, and obviously things aren’t 100% working. But development isn’t dead, so it’ll definitely get better and better.
There are complete instructions over on XDA – which you can find the link in the sources down below. As Mike says in his post, this app took a ton of hours to put together, as Google has not released the requirements for Android Auto to anyone but car makers and aftermarket headunit companies like JVC Kenwood and Pioneer. Mike says it took over 400 hours to reverse engineer it, and even more to build and test the app. So that if you are interested in using this app, feel free to donate to mikereidis over on XDA, he definitely put in plenty of hard work here. According to Mike’s post, it is confirmed working on the Nexus 7 2012, Nexus 7 2013, and Nexus 9 2014. Also the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet with CM12 on board. We only have a Nexus 9 here, so we were not able to test any new devices to ensure compatibility.
What is the most interesting about this app, is that it works on Android 4.1 and higher. While regular Android Auto is only Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher. So perhaps Google could support older versions of Android in the near future?