Any way to use Subsonic Android app with AndroidAuto?

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Any way to use Subsonic Android app with AndroidAuto?

Postby $chlitz » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:13 pm

Just purchased a new (to me) vehicle and it has a basic head unit, so looking to upgrade. Not sure if I want to go for an AndroidAuto unit, or just stick with a simple Bluetooth connection. I'm not all that familiar with AA, but my understanding is an app needs to be custom built to work with it. Does the Subsonic app work? Guessing no...so, anyone have any success listening to music via Subsonic using AA? Any input is appreciated.
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Re: Any way to use Subsonic Android app with AndroidAuto?

Postby acroyear » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:44 pm

The requirements for an auto app are VERY particular, in order to ensure safety (as in, NOT encouraging the user spends a lot of time staring at the screen).

It would need to be audio only, no lyrics, no last.fm album/artist info, and as simple an interface as is feasible (so I would think only playlists and maybe albums, no folder or artist-album browsing). There may be certain behavior requirements at certain speeds via auto-only APIs that need to be complied with for legal reasons. Or not. I'd have to reread all those details.

If I had one to test against, I'd consider porting SubFire* to it, packaging it up through adobe's phonegap build.

But there we are - it will require work, and not any app can be deployed on it, just like not any app can be deployed (without side-loading) on an Android TV system.

for now, i'd stick to the bluetooth audio and not worry about it.

* my "2.0" of SubFire is being written up as a framework for making different apps, so mobile, phone, tv, browser extension, can all be written from the same architecture but better handle their different UI needs. It would be easy to make an auto version (maybe make that the default tablet version) that complies with Google Play Store's rules, but that would be a lower priority over the other platforms that I have to use first.
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Re: Any way to use Subsonic Android app with AndroidAuto?

Postby $chlitz » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:33 am

Thanks for all the info. I've done some more research and it looks like DSub does work with AndroidAuto. The biggest thing for me is I want to be able to see what's playing and control my music from whatever head unit I end up purchasing. In my previous vehicle (2001 BMW) I just installed a Bluetooth module that allowed streaming from Subsonic, but it just showed "BT Stream" on the monochrome 2-line display of the stock stereo. I was satisfied with just being able to play my music in the car. Now that I'm going to pop for an aftermarket double-DIN touch screen in my new vehicle, I really want to be make sure I'm able to get song/artist data on the new head unit. Album art would be a huge bonus, but not a deal breaker. It's not clear to me if I will get artist/song data from the Subsonic app via Bluetooth, as I've read a lot of posts about people getting music but no data with various other apps. I know when I rented a 2016 Ford Excursion for a week a few years ago, I was super surprised to see song/artist data show up on the stock head unit when connected via BT and streaming from Subsonic. It's also not clear to me what level of control I will have over my music if I go with an AA head unit...does it only support pre-made playlists? I don't really use playlists...never have. I'm still up in the air if I should spend the extra cash for a AA unit or just get a nice BT unit. I want to continue using Subsonic in some form--I've been using it for years and just love being able to access ALL my music from anywhere. Google Play Music is okay, but it won't support my entire music library.

You seem like you know your stuff, so any additional info you can share with me is greatly appreciated.
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Re: Any way to use Subsonic Android app with AndroidAuto?

Postby acroyear » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:01 pm

What features an app for AA supports is up to the app maker, but in testing have to be approved by Google to appear in the Play Store. I only suggested that an app maker may avoid full-out folder browsing (or even ID3 artist-album browsing) simply to avoid the risk of having the driver spending too much time staring at the screen and not at the road.

Plex for auto does have artist-browsing support, so an artist-album approach may be acceptable if done right.
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Re: Any way to use Subsonic Android app with AndroidAuto?

Postby $chlitz » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:16 pm

After reading a bunch more about AA, it seems like it's really lacking in basic music features (I realize this was kind of Google's intention to curb distracted driving). Lots of people complaining about it being a real PITA for music. The only thing really pushing me towards AA is being able to use Google Maps right through my phone's data connection...but after lots of consideration, I think I'm just going to stick with BT for music and just use my phone for navigation.
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Re: Any way to use Subsonic Android app with AndroidAuto?

Postby acroyear » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:41 pm

the "basic music features" are all comments on the built-in app for that and the AA version of Google Play Music.

like i said, the feature set is up to the app maker, constrained by whatever Google decides is too distracting. But what Google decided to do for their music app does not, itself, limit what can be done with a Subsonic app, just as it doesn't the Plex app already out there.

The AA developer site even uses music-player examples of what it recommends as far as artwork and limited animation goes.
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