Since it started, Android Auto has always connected to your Android device via a wired USB connection. And while this system has worked for most of us, we all understand what a boon a wireless Android Auto connection would for us. For one, you can actually charge your phone while being connected to Android Auto and not rely on the puny electrical charge your head unit puts out. So Google might be upgrading the system to go wireless, but this would probably mean buying new head units, which are heck expensive.
XDA developer “Emil Borconi” might just have found the beginnings of a solution for this. The new wireless system from Google – if and when that rolls out – will not be a software upgrade, which means purchasing an expensive head unit again. But what if you can use an auxiliary device – say a cheap Android TV stick – to connect via WiFi to your phone and use that connection as the default one for Android Auto?
Borconi has created an app for this, which is called “AAGateway”. The idea is to have a cheap solution so that you can connect to Android Auto wirelessly. An Android TV stick – even the cheap ones with 512MB RAM – would apparently work for this system. Borconi says that you only need the device to run one app – the AAGateway app – and nothing else, so it can be as low performance as needed. These types of devices will cost you less than USD$20.00.
In actuality, you can even use an old phone that you’re not using to make this happen. It’s the AAGateway app that does all the magic, once installed. The setup of the system is what takes a bit of effort to do. But if you understand the system, you should be able to do it. Also, a ROOTED device – whether Android TV stick or an old phone – will give you an easier time setting it up than a non-rooted device.
As far as we can understand, you will need to install the XDA Labs app on the slave device (Android stick or old phone) to get the current alpha test version of AAGateway. For rooted slave devices, you will only need to install the app, run it, grant it root permissions, and then reboot. In non-rooted devices, you will need a display to agree on the permission prompts. This is where an old phone is better than an Android TV stick.
The last order of the day is to create a WiFi hotspot on your phone – the one you use for Android Auto – and have the slave device connect to the created hotspot. The AAGateway app does the hard work of channeling the Android Auto connection through the WiFi connection.
You can check the official XDA thread for the exact instructions, download links, and to communicate with the developer. Remember that this is still in alpha, so there will be lags and bugs. But it is heck cheaper than buying a new head unit.