Android Auto has been around for several years at this point and continues to evolve and improve with updates. However, most people are stuck with the wired version of the platform, missing the convenience of wireless. Good news, though — the clever AAWireless dongle is starting to ship this week.

To quickly recap this product to those who haven’t heard of it: AAWireless was a crowdfunded project launched in 2020 which promised to convert a standard, wired Android Auto head unit into a wireless one with just a USB dongle. We tested out a working prototype of the device (that looked nowhere near as nice as the final product pictured below) in December and came away pretty impressed at how well everything worked.

Fast forward to March 2021, and AAWireless is finally set to start shipping to customers who backed the project on Indiegogo. If you backed the product with a December 2020 estimate, you can expect your order to arrive as soon as the next week or two.

Why the delay? A couple of hiccups during development, and more recently, Chinese New Year delayed shipping. Specifically, a WiFi signal problem didn’t meet the product’s needs and miscommunication with the factory pushed things back considerably. The worldwide chip shortage has also left a backlog on Indiegogo orders that the developers tell us should be met by, hopefully, sometime in April. After that, direct sales of AAWireless will be available from the company’s website for anyone who missed out on the Indiegogo campaign.

The final look of the AAWireless dongle

The final AAWireless hardware also comes with a companion app for your Android smartphone that opens up some additional features. That includes, firstly, a set of instructions for users who need assistance in getting things running, such as ensuring Android Auto’s wireless mode is enabled on their phone.

The app is also used to send OTA updates to the dongle, report issues, and tweaking the USB mode. Most vehicles should work fine on the default settings, but some may need to be tweaked to work properly. AAWireless also told us that a new list of tested vehicles is coming soon.

Cleverly, the app also allows for changing the DPI of Android Auto on the screen. This allows a bit more information to be on screen at once, and potentially even opens Android Auto’s new widescreen mode to more cars, though the touch targets may become a bit too small at that point.

We’ll have a final version of AAWireless in the near future to report back on how the final product works along with its app.

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Ben Schoon

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