I’ve done lots of research on how to best install a “carputer” in my Subaru Forester, and decided to use my old Kindle Fire, that I seldom use. It has a touchscreen display, and enough power to run music/OBDII/browser/videos. The Kindle Fire is pretty much an Android tablet that’s been stripped of Google apps, so this can all be done easier/better with a full Android tablet like a Nexus 7. But since I already had this laying around, I’m going to use it. A few pros for using a Kindle is that the Home/Back buttons are on-screen. Since I want to install it flushed into the dash, its easier that I won’t have to worry about covering up touch buttons like the Nexus 7 has (although there are work arounds like Button Savior).
First off, I had to Root the Kindle and install Google Play, so we can install apps that the Kindle Store doesn’t have. Then looked for all the apps so the Kindle/Tablet will work like a factory installed headunit. What I want for it to turn on when I start the car and play music. Then stop music and turn off when I stop the car. I’ve listed all the software stuff I did to get those functions.
INSTALL GOOGLE PLAY:
-This is only neccessary since I started with a Kindle Fire. An Android tablet will already have Google Play.
-Turns the tablet on/off when you turn the ignition on/off. This app will sense when it is plugged in to turn on, when power is unplugged, it will automatically turn off. *Power will need to be wired to ignition 12v.
Button Savior: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.smart.swkey
-Because the physical buttons are not accessible with the tablet installed in the dash, this app will display onscreen soft buttons for power/back/volume/home.
Music Players of choice: Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music, MX Player…
No Lock Screen: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.futonredemption.nokeyguard
-If you want the tablet to power on to the home screen instead of a lock screen, this app can be handy.
Torque Pro (OBD 2): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.prowl.torque
-Paired witha bluetooth OBD2 adapter, this app can pull up fault codes and sensor data. *BT ODB2: http://www.amazon.com/BAFX-Products-Bluetooth-diagnostics-Android/dp/B005NLQAHS
Locale + plugins:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.twofortyfouram.locale
-Locale is an automation app that will trigger settings/apps during certain situations. The app requires installing plug-ins for additional features. A built in feature that does not require a plug-in is turnin on/off Wifi Hotspot on your cellphone (explained below).
***Plugins for Locale***
–Can change screen brightness depending on sunrise/sunset
*Headphone Button Plugin: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.snarfed.android.headphonebuttons
–Will simulate pressing a headphone button, Play/Pause/Next. Can be used to trigger music Play/Pause button automatically, when the power is connected/disconnected. So getting into the car, turn ignition, music will Play. Turn off car, music will Pause. Only works with compatible apps like Pandora, Spotify, etc.
*Power Source Plugin: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=name.boyle.chris.powersource
–Used with the Headphone Button Plugin to detect power on/off.
*Wifi Hotspot with mobile phone: Default settings
–Locale will also run on your Android mobile phone. When you enter your car, a bluetooth car stereo headunit will automatically pair with your mobile phone. Locale can detect when your phone is paired with your headunit and turn on your phone’s wifi hotspot, so that the tablet/kindle can then use the wifi for data. That is how I use Pandora/Spotify… Sure you can just stream it from your phone as well, but this way you don’t have to pull out your phone, the music will play off of the tablet where you can see and control what’s playing.