Nexus 7 makes the best in-car entertainment system ever

The folks at SonicElectronix have just built my dream car. Not because it's a big gas-guzzling Dodge RAM, or because it has black leather interior. Those are both great things, but they took the double-din head unit out and replaced it with a compartment to hold a Google Nexus 7 tablet to drive it over the edge for me. 

Using an Audison bit one signal processor to drive the sound to the speakers, they have turned what many feel is the best tablet for the money into an information and entertainment device in the Dodge's ample dash. Of course you can use Google Navigation (though a Wifi connection from your phone or a hotspot), but more importantly you can use any of the numerous streaming services provided through the Play Store. While driving alone, I could jam to some Google Music, or while my wife is riding with me, she could watch a movie on Netflix. Or I could let her drive, grab a Bluetooth controller, and play Riptide GP. 

Of course we've seen tablets built into cars and trucks before, but with Google's 7-inch offering in the Nexus 7, the project has a completely built-in OEM look and feel. Check out the video, then dream with me. 

Source: SonicEletronixTV

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I just bought the Pioneer Appradio 2 a few months ago but I would be willing to go through this in second.
  • Love it. Want one for my Ram!
  • This looks pretty interesting. Thanks, Jerry.
  • Awesome, would love it in my F250.
  • That would totally be worth losing Uconnect in my new Challenger for that. Pretty pricey though so I'm just going to stick with Bluetooth streaming for now.
  • that's pretty cool. Now if only you can make phone calls through it :)
  • Groove IP + Google voice. Make it happen captain!!!
  • Nexus 7 is Wifi only though. So unless your making the call from the drive way your out of luck. :( *Edit Wifi Tethering would hook you up. Wasn't thinking.
  • So..WiFi tether from to GrooveIP to emulate a Got it :)
  • 35 bucks a month for a hot spot!!!!! Keep it pushing dude!! Or better yet, 14 bucks a month for tethering on your phone!
  • I hope they unlocked and rooted before installing. I'm just saying.
  • For all that on road hacking...
  • It's removable.
  • I wish I had something like this in my car. Ultimate navigation, messaging, and entertainment center for your car. I could put away my obstructive phone mounts!
  • I actually think automobile makers should integrate this. Add their own apps, do a bit of customization for the car, and then They'll simply need to add a hard drive, or a bigger flash drive to store all the maps locally. Google sells them for 200, and it performs better than the devices they are currently buying/making.
  • Why would automobile makers integrate something that makes their cars illegal in 38 states, not to mention the risk of law suits? If it is visible by the driver, whether the driver says they are watching or not, no video players may be running while the cars is driving. There are a few states which don't have specific laws about this, but 38 states do. (I can slip a DVD into my Chrysler in-dash and watch it too. It stops playing when the vehicle goes out of park.)
  • obviously if automobile manufacturers were to use something like the nexus 7 then it would be programmed to comply with such laws...
  • Auto makers are already doing it..|_2012_Cadillac_Awareness_|_Cadillac_CUE_-_Awareness_|_Cadillac_CUE_-_Awareness_Sitelinks_|_Cadillac_CUE_Benefits
  • Since the Nexus 7 is only a wifi tablet, can someone explain how this would do any good while driving down the street? You would have no access to Pandora, Spotify, google music, or even google maps. Seems like a waste of time
  • In a word....TETHERING!
  • Wi-Fi tether from 4g phone. Was that a serious question?
  • Not cool when you're on a data cap.
  • Why does everyone botch so much about data caps?! I am on sprint and have never given 1 thought about a data limit. I play I heart radio and Google Music everyday and browse and download whatever I need. I have looked at my galaxy nexus the past few months just cause the feature was there and I barely use 2gb a month. For all of you that worry about it because of streaming for an hour during a commute you are probably abusing it somewhere else. It's not supposed to be your home network.
  • I was throttled constantly on my iPhone on AT&T. It would get so bad my phone would become unusable for anything other than making phone calls. I can only imagine at 59mbs down on my S3, I'd go over my limit in a day!
  • Some folks fail to match their needs to the best carrier plan for them. I'm also on Sprint and also have a grand-fathered Verizon unlimited plan. I tethered for a sum total of over 16GB in June with no overages or additional fees. To the topic at hand, this is a great idea, especially if the Nexus 7 slides right out and goes with you. I just saw the device in the flesh a few minutes ago as someone in my work complex was walking back from lunch with his. It is very svelte, maybe even more so than my NOOKcolor and with that much horsepower, it is pretty much the ideal mobile device.
  • You don't worry about a data limit because it's unlimited! Sprint FTW!
  • I get 4GB a month on Verizon, and I stream music anytime I am in my car, 65mi a day in commuting and I have never once come close to my data cap. I can't see where I would go over with a tablet tethered.
  • Bluetooth tethering, wifi tether etc...
  • Actually, the Nexus 7 makes a perfect navigation tool! It has GPS! However, you will have to search for your destination while on wifi but after planning the route, navigation works flawlessly on the Nexus 7. Actually, you don't even have to have a route planned; it can just follow you like a normal GPS. I love it. Even with no 3G/4G, I would still love to dock my Nexus 7.
  • Google Maps is now able to cache the maps for about an entire city so you dont need to load maps before you go
  • I currently use my cell phone in conjunction with my car to listen to pandora and music stored in my phone. My car has bluetooth audio so I can stream audio from pandora to my car's speakers. I have basic control (forward/backwards songs) from my car. Basically, I can stream any kind of audio from my BT devices to my car. Haven't paired my N7 to my car but that should work either the same or better. What I cannot do is control my phone from my car (i.e. launch google maps etc.)
    Right now its not such a big deal because my car has a 7" display anyway and the infiniti navigation is pretty nice. Not nearly as nice as google maps but good enough for a few more years.
  • Sweetness!
  • OK. I have been looking to do this in my trailblazer for a long time. My 1 question is can I control the headrest monitors in my backseat through this setup?
  • Make it happen in a 2008 Civic Si and I will pay $$$
  • WANT!
  • It's undeniably cool from a geek/DIY PoV... But not really very practical. The tablet isn't optimized for arms's length interaction and if it's gonna depend on you turning on tethering on the phone every time you get in the car it's actually kinda cumbersome, tho I'm sure you could automate that with Tasker/NFC. Now, if you tell me this setup is for some well off guy who's paying for a hotspot MiFi type device that he leaves in the car just for this then yeah, pretty sweet setup. Would be very amusing if he could relocate the camera or somehow connect an external one for face unlock... Tho the dash is probably close enough that you could also take a bunch of skewed pictures and force it to recognize your face coming in at an angle. Should also program Optimus Prime's voice to greet you and read the weather out loud every time you get in. :D
  • I saw a similar setup that a guy had done (and actually sells online) using an iPad. Of course, I would be much more inclined to do this with the nexus. I'm curious if there is a way to do this and to retain the actual FM radio function of the car as well. Does the Nexus have an FM function using the headphones as the antenna? There are a couple of morning shows I actually listen to these days. Otherwise, I'm on it. '12 wrangler soon to have a setup like this.
  • Check if your shows are on TuneIn Radio...of course you need tether
  • As much as I'd love to have one in my car as a dashboard solution, I couldn't possibly go through with it unless it was securely installed. Thieves would run through parking lots like it was Black Friday looking for these. Of course there are other glaring issues like data consumption, heat (battery), fragmented device sizes, etc...
  • This install is removable so you could always take it out if needed.
  • It seems like it would be rather cumbersome to remove it all the time. If it's not completely fixed into the dash, I'd imagine that a simple tablet mount would suffice. Just my two cents.
  • Those were the only glaring issues you could think of? What about the people you kill while watching some porn?
  • Desperate people have already mastered that, I'd presume. Not seeing any "death by porn" statistics by the NHTSA.
  • The BEST thing that could be done is if the in dash display simply was a remote screen for your phone/tablet, regardless of which one you had. Any swiping on the screen would be translated to using your phone. Obviously if your don't have a supported phone a typical interface of today would be used as a default. Doing it this way would allow you to have the latest and greatest phone, and your car would "seemingly" be upgraded accordingly. Each car manufacturer could simply create apps that represent their styling, that would function with that specific car's electronics as well once connected. The app could control, A/C, radio, etc that are built into the car, as well as informing the user of other critical car information. Siri or Google Voice Search would also be supported as well for calling people, GPS, and such. Mirroring your phone's display (either through BlueTooth, Miracast, Airplay) on your car is the future. And frankly it can't get here soon enough.
  • +1 for driving a Dodge Ram :-)
  • I'd put that I'm my 95 eclipse ... but not my 2012 juke got to keep it elegant
  • I am curious about the intense Summer heat...besides thieves, would it even be okay to leave the tablet in the car with the heat of Summers or cold of Winters? I guess you'd be taking the tablet out each time you left the car, either for the possible thievery or the heat/cold.
  • My wife as I showed her: "My God, you have a technological boner, don't you?" :-)
  • I'm sure mine will say the same thing about me...
  • All of this is really cool, and I love it, but I have Verizon and they are trying their hardest to make sure we DON'T use any data. It's very frustrating. I can remember when I had some of my old phones through Verizon years ago, when wifi first started becoming popular. Back then, Verizon WOULDN'T LET US, use wifi. We had to use their data plan. Now, they are trying like crazy to keep us from using their data. Seems ridiculous to me. They advertise how great 4G is, (and it is), then they give us a data cap we could hit in 1/2 hour. :-(
  • This would be absolutely awesome in my Audi A4! Plus, you could purchase the PLX Devices Kiwi Bluetooth adapter (from shopandroid, of course, here and then you could even get engine/car diagnostics in the tablet already mounted in your dash! That way if your stock head unit is also the display that gives you thinks like MPG or tire pressure readings, you won't lose that information. Can anyone say Google Hangout + racing... cough... I mean driving my car with friends in their cars? You can also install UPnP server apps on your tablet (like BubbleUPnP, my favorite), set up a Wifi network in your car, and share any videos loaded onto your dash tablet with any other tablets/phones in the car! My brain just exploded with potential ideas.......
  • Only problem with the A4 is the complicated a$$ speaker setup with the bose.
  • Worst idea ever, there are too many distracted drivers as it is and the numbers keep going up. I love my Nexus 7 but I'd hate driving in traffic if other people had this in the dash.
  • Exactly. You have to wonder about the mental maturity level of all the nut-jobs posting how cool this would be. You know damn well any after market install will not have ANY apps disabled when the vehicle is in motion. You have question Jerry's cheer-leading such dangerous installation.
    "Major Android Blog recommends Android toys for distracted drivers." Film at 11. Jerry: Hang up, and turn of the tablet, and drive. In that order please.
  • I can't speak for the others but I'm seriously just wanting this for tunein Radio and Google Maps. I think it would be amazing to have it in the dash like that and easily removable for when I park and leave the car. I don't currently own any other docking solutions for mine. All of your posts on this site are filled with negative energy, whether it's here on the main pages or in the forums. They're also usually very informative, showing you're quite smart. If you could just lay off people sometimes and express more positive reinforcement when you answer people's questions in the forums (and respond to main articles here), I think you'd be a lot happier. You can ignore this if you'd like, but I'm simply throwing it out there in hopes you'll take something from it. :-)
  • Oh please. Stop being so dramatic. It's not anymore distracting then changing stations on your radio.
  • Wonder how they turn it off/on. Do you have to take it on each time to turn it on? I know you could get a widget to turn the device off, but on is another question.
  • Since I am sure it is plugged into a car charger that when you turn the car on the tablet turns on with it, and it may have force screen on while charging and once the car turns off it will turn off shortly after.
  • Apps like Torque Pro would be beast, especially for tuner cars.
    And Google Now integration would make traveling much more fun. Not to mention apps that send text to your tablet to be read through your speakers and replying using Google Voice, would (could) make the roads a little safer.
  • Navfree for offline navigation!
  • Ouch! The bit one will run you about $750 without the remote. Still would be a sweet system if the sound was pretty good!!
  • Very cool and great work!
  • Ford should have just put these $200 tablets in their cars instead of Sync with Microsoft. This is so beyond cool!
  • Wow. You're proud of how much gas your shitty truck burns through. Congratulations. You're a selfish prick. Way to prepare the world for the next generations
  • around the time I bought my n7, my car started acting up, and I decided I was going to buy a new car (haven't yet... but getting to it) and I actually thought it would be really cool to build some sort of dock for my n7 in the car. cool to see that idea actually executed.
  • I have done this with ipads and xoom tablets :) Jerry - The audison bit one is a digital signal processor so it is not the device "driving" the speakerers. An amplifier of some sort is needed. There are tons of mistakes about car electronics on here.... I guess thats just what I get for being an android nerd thay happens to be a car audio installer.... :(
  • Also for people looking into this you do not have to have a signal processor you can just do the crossover on the amplifier... although the bit one is for sure the best way to go. You could also use a less expensive signal processor ...
  • I wish there was a simple way to just do away with my current stock stereo and give me just an input for whatever device I want. Basically give me a plate where the stereo once was and let me usb/rca/audio whatever I want and some sort of universal mounting plate to attach my device. I'd be happy to use my Evo since it is plenty big and I don't mind the car mode anyway. Somebody fire off a kickstarter or something and make it happen. Simplify my world please. My stock stereo is broken half the time anyway.
  • Cool, except an Audison Bit One costs about 3 times more than the Nexus 7.
  • People have got to get with the program and get their phone / tablets mounted in vehicles! It's unbelievably useful and Google Maps blows every other GPS software away. When I got my car in 2011 I had a tablet mod already in mind, and even better, the car we chose made it super easy to mount a tablet and have it in the perfect spot without having to rip apart the dash. Pics of my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" mod in my 2011 GMC Terrain can be found here:
  • Has any one looked into micro Android pc devices? I have found a ton online! MK803 is a good starting device, but there are others with OTG USB inputs, Bluetooth, etc.... an indash touch screen or a the mini Lenovo wireless keyboard mouse combo, and your have a smart car! Use the existing auxiliary input for audio interface.
  • ​I have installed a android tablet into my RAV4 and used it as my main car stereo and as navigator. i recently found an app on Google Play that as soon as you unplug the charger it automatically pause all media and navigation apps and when you turn on the engine the tablet goes on again without pressing the power button. so, GPS is on again and music continues exactly where you had left it It is called Autosleeper Auto power ON-OFF and i found it at Google Play at Is there anyone who has used it? I am quite happy but i'd like some feedback for this app or alternatives..