[Update Feb 16, 2021: CarDongle used to be called CarDroid, but the company had to change the product name. The rest of the post still uses CarDroid]
Many cars now sell with Android Auto support but infotainment systems compatible with Google’s mobile app may have limitations and that’s why we have started to see third-party solutions such as AAWireless adapter to enable wireless Android Auto on more cars.
Since Android Auto compatible hardware can’t be easily or cheaply upgraded, CarDroid Innovations has introduced CarDroid USB computer that works with Android Auto but instead runs Android 9.0 on a quad or octa-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at up to 2.0 GHz with improved performance and access to more apps.
- SoC – Unnamed quad or octa-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 2.0 GHz (Likely Amlogic S912 octa-core processor, advertised at 2.0 GHz, but whose real max frequency is 1.5 GHz, and maybe Amlogic S905X2 for the quad-core model).
- System Memory – Up to 4GB RAM
- Storage – Up to 64GB flash, MicroSD card slot
- WiFi & Bluetooth 5.0 & WiFi
- GPS Antenna
- Audio – Built-in microphone
- USB – 1x USB male port to connect to the Android Auto system in your car
CarDroid works in standalone mode as an Android 9.0 computer, so it can work without a phone and allows you to access apps such as Netflix, Google Maps, Youtube, Social Media, etc.. It gets power from the USB port, connects to WiFi and Bluetooth, and leverages the existing display of your Android Auto infotainment system. The company also promises frequent firmware upgrades. If you’re interested, you may want to double-check if your car is compatible on the Cardroid website.
CarDroid launched on Indiegogo a few weeks ago and already raised over $110,000. Rewards start at $69 for the quad-core model with 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, and the price goes up to $99 for that octa-core model with 4GB RAM, 64GB flash. Those are super early bird prices, and retail prices will be $119 and $149 respectively. Shipping adds around $8, and delivery is expected to start in December 2020.