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I'm thinking about getting a Pioneer DEH-2200UB, which advertises itself as having controls compatible with iPods. I will be using it with my Samsung Fascinate in my 2005 Honda Civic. Is there any way to tell if a car stereo is compatible with Android Phones (by compatible, I mean the controls can be used to control my Winamp player, or as a last resort, the default player)?

Note: I am asking for a general solution, not one specific to my particular car/stereo/phone combination (though feel free to give me a specific solution in the comments).

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6 Answers

If the car unit support the A2DP and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles, it should be able to control your Android music player app; both my Droid (FroYo 2.2.2) and my Bionic (Gingerbread 2.3) honor the play/pause and forward/back controls on my Sony MW600 headset.

The Android 2.3 Compatibility Definition states:

7.4.3. Bluetooth Device implementations SHOULD include a Bluetooth transceiver. Device implementations that do include a Bluetooth transceiver MUST enable the RFCOMM-based Bluetooth API as described in the SDK documentation [Resources, 32]. Device implementations SHOULD implement relevant Bluetooth profiles, such as A2DP, AVRCP, OBEX, etc. as appropriate for the device.

A2DP provides for streaming stereo content, AVRCP provides for remote control support.

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Unfortunately, there currently aren't any decks that allow you to CONTROL the music (skip songs/albums/etc) FROM the deck. You'll need to do that on your phone. However you can stream the music from your phone to the deck so it plays through the car speakers over bluetooth (with compatible devices) or by using a direct audio cord. Here's an article that talks a little more about it: http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-general-discussions/57050-android-ready-car-deck.html

@matthew it depends on what kind of music files you have, typically Bluetooth streaming isn't extremely lossy, but if you're using flac or wav files there may be SOME loss (nothing noticeable) mp3s would stream at full quality though, no matter how you do it, BT should suit you just fine

@matthewread what kind of deck does your dad have? if you can find a deck that can control the Android music player I'd love to see it becauseI looked high and low for one before I installed my system last winter

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Is bluetooth digital? i.e., will there be signal loss? –  Matthew May 14 '11 at 0:08
    
@Matthew The music on your phone is digital too :P it should be high enough quality to sound perfect to your ears. –  Matthew Read May 14 '11 at 3:57
    
My dad's deck can skip songs on his BlackBerry, I don't see why there wouldn't be a deck that can control an Android device too. –  Matthew Read May 14 '11 at 3:59
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I can tell from my own experience. My father's Renault Scenic got a integrated bluetooth module built in.

I could successfully pair an iPhone and control the music through the car's radio controls. I think the radio's display even showed the track title.

With my new Xperia mini pro I can also successfully pair with the radio but it's not possible to control the the music tracks through the radio's controls. Also the track names do not display. I need manually select the music track on the phone.

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I had the chance to try my Xperia mini pro again with the car's bluetooth radio. I have to correct my previous statement. Controlling the music tracks through the radio's controls is working. Don't know why it wasn't working before. Maybe I wasn't using the default music player. The track title still isn't showing though. –  TheLostOne Dec 10 '11 at 16:18
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The car audios which advertises compatibility with ipod/iphone(ipod direct control) are not compatible with android. If the head units are compatible with android, they will advertise it in features. I am writing this from personal experience.

While connecting my Galaxy S2 to my pioneer x3590ui the system displays unsupported or no audio(in media device mode). If you switch the usb connection to mass storage mode, the system can detect the phone as a USB storage and can start playing media files on phone's mass storage or SD card.

I am mentioning about the music compatibility through USB. But if you have a unit with Bluetooth, you can control music or even make calls on your phone with the head unit.

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I suspect the Android phone will just mount as a mass-storage device and play audio on the unit itself.

The reason a lot of headunits state that they can control iPods, is because it's not as straight forward as treating an iPod as a mass-storage device because the files are encrypted and the device may not even be formatted as a FAT formatted device. Therefore, the easiest(only?) method for the headunit manufacturers to access the music on an iPod is to implement the control protocol via the iPod connector.

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The files on an iPod are not encrypted. Just hard to get at. –  tomfanning May 14 '11 at 9:00
    
Files bought from iTunes can/are encrypted with FairPlay DRM. –  JRT May 14 '11 at 11:22
    
Files bought from iTunes can/are encrypted with FairPlay DRM. Even if not all of the data is encrypted the point still stands. There is encryption/DRM involved. So along with headunit manufacturers having to consider two different filesystems, controlling the iPod rather than accessing the files directly. –  JRT May 14 '11 at 12:43
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Kenwood just released head units compatible with Android. the kdc-252 is the cheap model

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This doesn't answer the overall question. –  Matthew Read Jan 8 '12 at 8:25
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