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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I haven't seen this discussed yet, so I thought I'd share my findings.

It's possible to install (sideload) external Android apps (APK files) on the Odyssey's infotainment system, since it is built off of Android. I don't think it's a good idea for me to explain specifically how it's done because it is very easy to make the entire system unusable if you aren't familiar with Android. I managed to get the system stuck in an infinite bootloop while experimenting but was luckily able to revert my changes through Androids package manager utility.

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For those of you who know enough about Android to figure out the details yourself, the process is not much different from other Android devices. You enable Developer Options from the About screen. Then you enable ADB over Wifi. Then you connect to the system via ADB from a computer that is on the same network as the Odyssey. You aslo need to enable the apps from the app manager so that they appear on the main screen.

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Most of the apps I tried to install did not work. The three I got to work that were worth keeping on the system were Total Commander (a file manager), Fast (a network speed test app that happens to also gives access to a web browser), and DiskUsage (available space viewer).

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The DiskUsage app shows that there is about 8GB of available free space on the system. In my image 750MB or so is currently taken up by a movie file.

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Total Commander allow you to move files around. It is also able to read files stored on a USB drive plugged into the USB port in the center console. Transfering files via USB is much faster than using the WiFi network. I was unable to get Total Commander to install an APK file, so that had to still be done over ADB. Total Commander also has a built-in media player, so I was able to play MP4 movie files with audio on the Infotainment screen without any issues. Obviously, this can be very dangerous if done while driving.

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I tried to install several different web browsers, but none of them worked. While testing my network speed using the Fast app, I happened to tap the speedtest.net link in the app and a built-in browser opened. I didn't spend too much time messing with it, but it seemed to be a fairly full-fledged browser.

All of the apps that I installed seemed to be automatically disabled while the van is in motion. The app icons on the main screen for the apps that I installed were greyed out if the van is being driven. I haven't tried launching an app and then driving to see if the app is still functional. One word of warning to anyone who experiments with this is do not allow any app you install to send/place something on the home screen. From the browser in the Fast app I tried to save a shortcut to the home screen and that is how the entire system got itself into an infinite loop of launching and crashing. I was able to fix it by using an ADB "pm" command to clear the launcher/home app user data.
 

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Thanks for the detailed write up, this is cool to know. Probably step 1 should be back up the OS just in case you’re not able to recover from an error.
 

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This is cool, nice work.

Yes while Waze/Google maps works via Android Auto, it would be nice if we can get it working without the middle man (AA), and have it run directly from the infotainment system without having to plug in your phone.
 

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This is cool, nice work.

Yes while Waze/Google maps works via Android Auto, it would be nice if we can get it working without the middle man (AA), and have it run directly from the infotainment system without having to plug in your phone.
While I agree it would be an interesting project, and I would likely have tried it as well in the old days when I tinkered just for the sake of tinkering, I don't think it is practical for a couple of reasons: 1) apps are dependent on underlying Google Play Services, getting the latest and greatest app to work means one has to update Google Play Services on the head unit, which is likely to stay on Lollipop for the lifetime of the vehicle; even if one manages to pull that off for the time being, Google will not keep updating components for Lollipop forever. CarPlay and Android Auto minimizes the dependency between the latest app and the head unit, as the in-dash device is used only as a display and an input device. 2) On Android Phones Google Assistant ties everything together, I don't use the touch screen much - whenever I plug my phone in, Android Auto automatically comes into focus, for navigation, phone calls/text messages, and music play lists I rely on Google Assistant to take care of just about everything. I wish I could hide the menu bar at the bottom of the screen because I rarely use it anyway but that's just a minor complaint.
 

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Original poster, was waze one of the apps you tried, but that didn't work? As an iOS user, this is an attractive option for me to get waze up there without having to buy a dedicated android auto device for the car. (for those wondering I live near a speed trap and waze is wonderful for that)
 

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Original poster, was waze one of the apps you tried, but that didn't work? As an iOS user, this is an attractive option for me to get waze up there without having to buy a dedicated android auto device for the car. (for those wondering I live near a speed trap and waze is wonderful for that)
+1 on this. Been looking at options on best way to have Waze on the screen. Company pays for iPhone...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Original poster, was waze one of the apps you tried, but that didn't work? As an iOS user, this is an attractive option for me to get waze up there without having to buy a dedicated android auto device for the car. (for those wondering I live near a speed trap and waze is wonderful for that)
No, I did not try Waze, but I doubt it will work. It seems like the more an app can do, the less likely it would work. Next time I try new apps, I'll be sure to try Waze. Something I wanted to try but didn't have time was older versions of apps that didn't work.
 

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No, I did not try Waze, but I doubt it will work. It seems like the more an app can do, the less likely it would work. Next time I try new apps, I'll be sure to try Waze. Something I wanted to try but didn't have time was older versions of apps that didn't work.
Thanks, I look forward to hearing your results!
 

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I'm considering buying an old Droid phone from a buddy for $20, getting the WiFi from my iphone just so I can use Android Auto play for this reason.
 

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I'm considering buying an old Droid phone from a buddy for $20, getting the WiFi from my iphone just so I can use Android Auto play for this reason.
Only if you don't plan to make/receive calls or use text messaging over BT. Android Auto will ask for a BT connection for use with these functions, if the head unit is currently connected to another device, and if you decline it will simply exit. You may be able to get around it afterward by turning BT off on the Android mobile device, but I don't think anyone would put up with that every day.
 

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I was fiddling with my settings menu and Developer Options this weekend. I was wondering the same. The Ody doesn't have an APK manager app that Civic and possibly others do. I'm wondering if anyone found a way to push APK files thru USB debugging or ADB, similar to how it is done on phones.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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Anyone else curious about this? I've been looking at all the settings and was unable to ssh into the unit via WiFi.
 

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No, I did not try Waze, but I doubt it will work. It seems like the more an app can do, the less likely it would work. Next time I try new apps, I'll be sure to try Waze. Something I wanted to try but didn't have time was older versions of apps that didn't work.
what apps are you running these days? Any luck rooting or modifying the whitelist?
 
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