How wireless Android Auto adapters work

If you have been using Android Auto with a cable for more than a few weeks, you probably already know that cables are very often the cause of the bugs found.

For some reason it is extremely difficult to find the right cable for Android Auto. In theory, sticking to the original cable that came with the phone should suffice. However, many users find out the hard way that even original cords no longer work with Android Auto, sometimes completely out of the blue.

As such, giving up cables is something that ultimately improves the experience with Android Auto. The wireless sibling drops this major annoyance, as the phone can connect to a compatible head unit without the need for a cord.

What is an Android Auto Wireless Adapter?

The first thing I will describe for you is the concept of an Android Auto wireless adapter.

While the name is very simple for tech-savvy users, it seems to cause confusion as to what should happen in a car where Android Auto is already available.

An Android Auto adapter converts the wired version of the app to wireless. In other words, if your car already comes with wired Android Auto, you can use the application without a cable connection.

Photo: Amazon

How an Android Auto wireless adapter works

AAWireless, Motorola’s MA1 and the rest of the adapters that have helped grow this product category use a similar approach. Everything is designed to be as simple as possible, so the process requires only minimal configuration on the user’s side.

First and foremost, these adapters need to connect to your car through the wired Android Auto port. They come with an integrated USB cable, so drivers need to plug them in just like a mobile device.

The devices integrate Bluetooth and 5GHz wireless support. The former is required to connect to your smartphone, while the latter is a requirement for Android Auto wireless.

Once the Android Auto adapter is connected to the car and you start the engine, the device emulates a wired connection, tricking the media into thinking a smartphone is connected.

Users must connect their mobile devices to the adapter via Bluetooth. The wireless connection then allows the adapter to send and receive information from the smartphone, enabling wireless screen projection to the media receiver.

As such, the adapter plays the role of an intermediary whose sole role is to receive wireless information from the mobile device and send it to the head unit (and vice versa). Since it plugs into the car’s USB port, you can always keep it connected to the media receiver.

Motorola wireless car adapter for Android Auto

Photo: Motorola

The pros and cons of Android Auto wireless adapters

Although the main advantage of an Android Auto wireless adapter is more than obvious, such a device also has additional functions.

Depending on the model, an Android Auto wireless adapter can allow you to easily switch from one device to another using an integrated button. Since they have a very small form factor, it’s extremely convenient to store a wireless adapter in your car so drivers don’t have to remove them when they turn off the engine.

On the other hand, the main drawback is the delay that sometimes occurs when starting the engine. Android Auto wireless adapters take anywhere from a few seconds to half a minute to load. As a result, the Android Auto interface does not immediately appear on your car screen, but only after a noticeable waiting time.

Plus, those drooling over Android Auto wireless might not necessarily be too impressed with the wireless connection given the battery drain. The impact on the battery is often significant, so a cord is still necessary unless you have a wireless charger in your car.

While Android Auto wireless helps users ditch cables, using a cord may still be necessary at an additional cost. Keeping the phone in your pocket can cause the battery level to drop significantly, causing you to arrive at your destination with an empty battery. Ultimately, plugging in a charger and using a cord would still be necessary.

For short trips in the city, Android Auto wireless is very useful. Someone who works in the delivery industry could use Android Auto on their head units while keeping the phone in their pocket or backpack. The overall experience is a lot more convenient, especially when one stops regularly. Of course, the slow loading time can ultimately lead to more frustration, but this also depends on the device you choose to power the whole thing.

A wireless Android Auto adapter typically costs less than $100 and works with most Android devices and cars where wired Android Auto is supported.

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