You can buy Pioneer’s Android Auto units right now


pioneer android auto IMG_7835

Yep, Pioneer’s the first to bat with Android Auto products officially available. The line of in-dash units revealed at this past CES is available for boatloads of cash, depending on what you need out of your vehicle’s in-dash system.

There’s just one problem: Android Auto isn’t actually out yet. It’s a fine audio unit on its own, mind you, and for those with Apple CarPlay that functionality is readily available. But those hoping to be able to add Android Auto functionality to their car without having to buy a brand new vehicle will have to wait for an update (though Google tells us that will happen quite soon).

These things don’t come cheap:

The main differences between them seem to be in areas of navigation. The cheapest option doesn’t support standalone GPS navigation, while the latter two do. The most expensive option offers a more robust suite of navigation features over its cheaper counterpart.

All units seem to enjoy the same audio, connectivity and media support (DVD and CD), though, so if navigation isn’t your thing then you’re better off going with the cheaper of the three. They’ll slot into any standard 4-inch Double-DIN dash bay so make sure your car has enough room for it and order one in anticipation of Android Auto’s arrival at some point down the line.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I’m fine with a paper map for 99¢

    1. Ok gramps.

    2. Pssh yeah good luck finding a 99 cent map nowadays. They are 4.99 easy now.

      1. I haven’t bought one in years.

        1. Hope those roads are still there! The last 4 places I’ve lived don’t appear on maps printed 5 years ago. The paper I use to clean up my used food has more value.

      2. Does printing out a map count?

  2. Unfortunately, Pioneer’s history of supporting anything Android is weak. They fall over iOS like crazy but the love for Android is more of the red-headed step child variety. Just look at any AppRadio product and how “useful” Android is with them.

    Sorry, Pioneer. I’ll wait for the Parrot RNB6 to be released if I want Android Auto.

    1. Luckily, Android Auto is completely housed on the phone. Updates come from Google. The head unit just displays the info.

      1. You still need the head unit to recognize the phone. Have you seen Pioneer’s list of compatible phones? The newest phones on the list are LG Optimus, HTC Droid DNA, Samsung S4 & Motorola Razr. The most recent Nexus is the Galaxy Nexus. That’s like having the newest iPhone supported as the 4S. No thanks Pioneer, you’re years too late to the party.

        1. Pioneer is wrong then because only phones with Lollipop have Android Auto. It is baked into Lollipop. Google Play Services just needs to be updated to allow it to work.

          1. I’m just trying to say I don’t trust Pioneer when it comes to Android connectivity with their units. I have no doubt Android Auto will work just fine when it’s released. And no, it’s not launched yet. Since it’s not launched yet, Pioneer cannot say what works (or doesn’t) with their units. I’m talking about the history of Android connectivity with Pioneer AppRadios. It’s been hideous.

          2. OK, now Android Auto has been released.

  3. Very rarely is the MSRP the actual street price on Pioneer decks. A couple years ago, I bought an MSRP $1200 deck for $700 at Best Buy. And that was early in the life cycle.

    Pioneer has failed by not providing a deck without DVD/CD. That would greatly reduce the cost. I don’t understand why these companies don’t take the tech of, say, a Nexus 7, add the car audio components necessary, and create a deck using that design model? Cheap, fully functional, and great UI. I just don’t get it.

    They had the AppRadio 2 a few years ago that was pretty much exactly this hardware-wise. It just didn’t have Android Auto on it. Now, if someone could take that old deck and put Android Auto on it, we could get an amazing deck for around $400.

    1. Yea, I don’t need a DVD player in my car.

  4. I honestly can’t wait to get a car with android auto in it. That’s when I’m old enough for a drivers license etc

  5. If my understanding is correct, you should still be able to use GPS via your phone and the maps will show up on the screen.

    If that’s the case, then the cheapest option is clearly the path I should take. Though I won’t mind if I still have to use my mount. Unless it can mirror my screen when I use GPS on my phone.

    I know they state that the screen is mirrored, but just “how mirrored”? For example, is it mirrored like when opening Google Music, it shows a custom UI on the radio, or does it show the exact same UI? I think the custom UI is what it shows.

    1. It will be interesting to see what Android Auto looks like when it finally makes it to the consumer. I suspect that it will not really be “mirrored” app content. Rather, it is more likely to be like the Chromecast, where apps can be “Android Auto enabled,” with a special UI that is interactively “cast” to the car screen. Perhaps apps that aren’t built for this purpose could just be mirrored, but most popular apps you would use in a car will likely be released with Auto compatibility.

      What I’m most interested in is an interface that either does not have to be updated to work with newer phone hardware and newer versions of Android. I don’t have a problem buying a new phone every couple of years, but I’m less enthusiastic about a car with dated tech. I drove a 2003 BMW that had a fancy in-dash navigation system that was outdated before that car hit the street. Using a suction cup mounted Garmin or just my phone sitting in the passenger seat worked a lot better. A good phone mount can take care of a lot, but there are things I’d like from a built-in system (either factory or aftermarket). I like bluetooth speakerphone capability. Also, backup cameras are awesome. (Never thought I’d need one. I can parallel park a Suburban and hook up a trailer like a pro, but once I drove a truck with a backup cam, it was game over.) If an Android Auto system can get me these features, while taking advantage of the always up-to-date apps on my phone without requiring a commitment for routine updates from the manufacturer, I’ll pay those Panasonic-level prices.

  6. Meh, all I need is a Bluetooth link to my car’s head unit and my phone’s 5.5″ screen can handle the rest. No need for this.

    1. I’m hoping someone makes an app that you to use the android auto versions of apps on your phone, when driving with phone mounted those tiny buttons some apps have are insanely hard to hit without getting into an accident or holding phone.

      1. Search AutoMate for android beta on g+ possibly coming put at the end of the month. It’s what I’m waiting for!

  7. Considering there track record with the horrid AppRadio, they can go die in a hole. Ill wait til a real company that doesnt completely screw up a simple product releases a Head Unit

  8. I sure hope that’s a sweet karaoke mic attached to it for in car sing alongs.

    1. i want to do that to my car NOW. traffic would be so much more bearable if i could bust out some “Everybody Hurts” . . .

  9. Seriously 699$ for the cheapest one and it doesn’t even have gps. For that kind of money you can better buy a phone and car kit.

  10. That’s terrible.

    This is basically a miracast screen + system.

    No way this should cost as much as an unsubsidized phone by itself.

  11. I’ll buy one when they’re cheaper due to hardly selling any

  12. I assume the $699, while not having standalone gps, you can use Google Maps from your phone and have that power as the GPS. That’s what I’d personally prefer to do anyway. I like Google Maps as my gps more than a standalone.

  13. I still want the Parrot RNB6. I hope it’s cheaper in price than these Pioneer units. I don’t really want to pay more than about $500 for a head unit on my car…I can’t imagine paying over $1000…what on earth does it offer that warrants that?

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