HTC brings Bluetooth audio to (almost) any car stereo [MWC 2012]


Smartphones make great media devices, housing tons of music (and even more in the cloud) that you can take on the go. Having access to that music can mean the difference between a nerve-racking commute and one full of chill tunes and good vibes, but unless you own an iPhone it can be hard to find quality accessories to interface a handset’s audio player with your car stereo. HTC is making an attempt to solve that problem with the introduction of a new Bluetooth dongle here at Mobile World Congress 2012.

The device itself is tiny, about the size of a thumbdrive, and features only a port for charging (microUSB) and buttons to power on and pair with an Android smartphone. The business end sports a 3.5mm jack that can plug into the auxiliary port on a car stereo. Yes, you will need a stereo that features such a connection and the ability to select to play music from an auxiliary source, but the functionality has become fairly commonplace and is more likely to be found in most car stereos than a Bluetooth receiver. The use of a 3.5mm jack also means this device will technically be compatible with any stereo, whether it is in a car or not.

Set up is as easy as pairing the device and plugging in. Playback is still controlled from your phone, and in this case HTC has provided an updated interface for their new One series of phones. Maps and navigation are available from a docked mode as well as your full music library and a tuner for finding internet radio stations. The UI always presents playback controls for music as well as current track information, making it easy to pause or skip a song without moving away from a navigation screen.

HTC’s Bluetooth audio dongle is a great idea and addresses a very real problem, but it isn’t an all-encompassing solution. While the equipment needed to take advantage of audio streaming is becoming common, not every car will feature a stereo that can easily take advantage. On the other end, because the device uses Bluetooth it shouldn’t be limited to only HTC’s phones, making it appealing to a wide audience. No pricing or release date has been announced, but expect to see this later in the year.

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  1. I’ll take one of these.  This’ll mean I can finally tuck one more cable away in my car and have my phone simply sync with the dongle when I get in.

  2. Why did they make it a 3.5mm jack and not just USB?  I’d rather have it USB because it plays better on my stereo than the aux.

    1. Not every car stereo has a USB port my friend.  It’s more common but older models just have the Aux In jack.

      1.  The factory set in my Pilot doesn’t even have that. I’m gonna have to install Honda’s adapter first, and then hook up this thing, but I’ll do it. It’s just that I have to keep that head unit for the factory DVD player on the back.

  3. I’ve had one of these for a few years now (not by htc of course). 

    Some no-name brand I got on ebay from china for like $15 and works perfectly. 

    I don’t need it in my car anymore since I got a stereo with built in bluetooth and HDradio finally but still use it for my work stereo.

  4. Avantalk has that too for some time already. I have the 
    Avantalk BTTC-200 and it’s great to push music via Bluetooth AD2P from my SGS2 to my car stereo. It also plugs to the auxiliary port, and has a battery so no need to keep it plugged in a USB port.

  5. I’ve been using a Blackberry Stereo Gateway for years that has pretty much the same functionality.

  6. Seriously, when your car stereo already has a 3,5mm jack, why not plug in a 3,5mm to 3,5mm cable?

    1. Because if you also have it plugged into your car charger you get a weird feedback sound while you’re driving (at least in my case).  This allows you to both charge your phone and play your music without both wires and weird feedback sound.

      1. I get a feedback sound when I’m charging as well. It’s pretty mild though. Seems like a pretty small reason when you consider this dongle will probably cost $30-50 and needs to be charged itself.

        1.  For those who have a long commute, or just tend to drive a lot, I would say that reason isn’t small at all. I wouldn’t say $30 is a lot to spend to be able to hear the music without additional distortion. To each his own, as always.

      2. Really? I always thought it was my $15 FM Transmitter that was doing that. I figured since it was cheap, that when I plugged my phone into the back of it to use it as a car charger it made some static sound.

  7. Not sure what the big deal is here.  How many car stereos that have aux-in don’t have A2DP bluetooth input already??  Not many, I’d guess, and fewer by the day.  A2DP gateways have been around for years.

    1. On most GM vehicles the aux-in is standard, A2DP is an upcharge option.

  8. I’ve been using this one and it works great.

  9. Go to Amazon or eBay and type in Bluetooth aux ….not 2 hard

  10. Cool gadget, but nothing super new as others have pointed out. Unfortunately I don’t have an AUX or Line In on my stereo. Need to replace the whole thing soon.

  11. Looks like the Sony MBR-100 I have which came out 4 years ago..
    Although Sony have since discontinued it for some reason so I guess this fills the gap.

    Although it’s not mentioned i’m going to guess that this is yet another Bluetooth 2 receiver. I really hope i’m wrong though, i’d jump at the chance of a BT3 one.

    Numerous people have been impressed with my MBR-100 but once they realise the quality of stream that is capable across BT2 they lose interest.

    Also mounting it to the head unit as in the picture above is asking to get is broken off :P

    Really liking the look of that car dock app :-)

    1. I checked around for the best receiver a few weeks ago, then i realized the Sony bluetooth headset I had was already a bluetooth receiver with a 3.5mm stereo plug. Just unplug it from your headphones, and use a male-male cable to plug into the stereo.

      Or you could just plug the cable directly into the phone.

  12. I have an Auxiliary cable now, but it get frustrating changing songs and having the core wrap around the shifter or the hissing between songs while charging. Maybe this can bring the cost of some of the Bluetooth connectors down, and having an app specific for it is a plus.

    But I want more stuff like coming out soon.

    1. Oh? You mean lyk this?

      I use that with my radio. I can basically control errthing on my radio except the volume. I can mute though. =.P

      So I just have my music playing, have bluetooth on, and when I turn on my car it just switches to my radio and the app opens up. I think that’s what your link was trying to take me. It just took me to the home page.

      1. add this to the end, it’s actually able to run some apps on its 7″ touch screen.

        but, thnx for the heads up on the link, very cool.

  13. Lets say you have this set up in your car. What happens you get a call? I know you can hear the caller through the car speakers, but how are they going to hear you? On the phones I’ve used, having the call on speaker isn’t too great. Would I need to buy a third-party microphone device to be able to talk to my caller without picking up the device from the dock? Or is the mic on this phone just freaking awesome? 

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