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astonius

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I’m OK with Rivian foregoing AA and CarPlay as long as they open up their ecosystem to allow all kinds of apps beyond just Spotify and a couple others. Users want access to apps they know and trust, such as Waze, ABRP, etc. The issue might be getting developers to create apps for a new ecosystem, but perhaps that’s where having Amazon as a partner could be beneficial.
There's a few issues with this approach as well. There's been no indication Rivian intends to build an app platform at all, not even a whiff. If they did the chances of it being fully open are slim-to-none. Too much of a liability risk. That leaves approved vendors who can build apps for Rivian's platform. If I'm an approved vendor why would I target such a small audience?

Let's say you get over all of those hurdles somehow. I still prefer CarPlay. Apps and updates will always be released to CarPlay faster and more frequently. Even more important, I don't have to sign in or hope data synchronizes between the Rivian install of the app and the iOS install of the app. My data is always tied to the phone, which is always with me. I don't have to worry about my playlist or podcast position not synchronizing with the cloud. I don't have to send my navigation route to the truck. It's all being powered directly from the phone that I used to do the search anyway.

 

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I have no idea what the economics of CarPlay are like. Does Apple charge manufacturers to add it to vehicles? I don’t know, but I doubt it. I think that, more likely, it’s one of two things:
- it’s technically challenging based on how the infotainment system is architected and it hasn’t made it to the top of the team’s list
Or
- there’s some political pressure from Amazon not to include it
Apple does not charge any fees for adding CarPlay to vehicle infotainment.
 

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I call malarkey. Also done 20+ years between big tech and startups.

The Android/Windows iOS/MacOS argument makes no sense. Apple created the walled garden to be able to offer a consistent user experience as an enabling factor to make a ton of money on App sales. Unless Rivian is angling to create an App Store (doubtful), this isn’t a path to riches for them, and enabling third party apps to run in a sandboxed CarPlay environment shouldn’t present any performance or security concerns to the rest of the vehicle

I have no idea what the economics of CarPlay are like. Does Apple charge manufacturers to add it to vehicles? I don’t know, but I doubt it. I think that, more likely, it’s one of two things:
- it’s technically challenging based on how the infotainment system is architected and it hasn’t made it to the top of the team’s list
Or
- there’s some political pressure from Amazon not to include it
So what's Tesla's excuse? Their engineers are also too dumb to figure out how to implement a basic third-party SDK? Or is it that Musk is also under political pressure from Jeff Bezos? Has to be one of the two, seeing as how there can't be any other motivation to keep Google and Apple away from hardware manufacturing and preventing them from repeating the success they've had in sucking the lion's share of economic value out of phones, TVs, smart speakers, smart watches, fitness trackers, thermostats, and every other physical thing they put their focus on.
 

dekeen

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As we all know, Rivian in their infinite wisdom believes they can build a better software experience than Apple or Google for in-car infotainment. As an owner I can now definitively say at this moment and for the foreseeable future that is not true. They simply lack the market presence and development resources to target all of the possible media and navigation applications their customers want to use. I know I am not alone in this analysis, and like many I am constantly petitioning Rivian to add CarPlay and Android Auto support. However, I'm not waiting around crossing my fingers for it to happen.

I purchased and installed the RoadTop 8.8" display. It is a Linux-based standalone and portable media unit typically used to add modern features to older vehicles, or in this case a brand-new, modern truck built by a new company with too much hubris. It has a wide screen display, which I prefer over the typical 4:3 units. It supports both CarPlay and Android Auto, wired via USB-A or wireless. It can connect to the vehicle's sound system using three different methods: an aux jack, an FM transmitter, or a bluetooth connection. It is powered by 12V. The design is better than most, though not perfect. The bezels are large, and it has a bit of a "chin" like an iMac. The screen resolution is also low (1280 x 480), but it's readable. The price is reasonable in my opinion at $290 shipped. It does come with a camera which is a waste in this application. It would be nice to see a SKU without it for a lower price.

Setup and installation was simple and straightforward. I mounted the screen above the existing Rivian infotainment using the included suction mount with boom arm. I then ran the power cable to the 12V port beneath the center air vents and powered on the screen. I removed the Rivian Audio connection from my iPhone and connected the iPhone via bluetooth to the RoadTop unit. It prompted me to start CarPlay, and within seconds it was up and running. I then connected the RoadTop as a bluetooth device to the Rivian infotainment and set the output appropriately. Boom, wireless CarPlay in a Rivian.

The 12V power is tied to the lock state of the truck. If the truck is unlocked, the unit powers on. If it's locked it powers down. Startup time is relatively quick (~8 seconds from power up), and it can be set to boot directly into CarPlay. It's responsive, and the audio quality sounds comparable to the direct bluetooth connection to the Rivian infotainment. It also supports screen mirroring via AirPlay or MirrorLink, which is a nice touch. When parked you can easily stream video from your phone.

The only big issue I've had is occasional choppiness with the bluetooth connection from the RoadTop to the Rivian. I know the problem lies here because other outputs work fine. It's intermittent, and reconnecting often fixes the issue. I asked RoadTop support about this. They sent me a firmware update to try, but I can't seem to get it to install. I'm waiting on a follow-up from them now.

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And now I'll attempt to preempt many of the comments...

Why not just use a phone mount?
I prefer the CarPlay interface when driving. The whole point of CarPlay was to prevent phone use while driving. I also don't like putting my phone in a dedicated spot every time I get in a car. If a phone mount works for you, great! I just wanted to show an alternative.

What if Rivian adds CarPlay in the future?
Fantastic, I welcome that. Obviously this solution is not ideal. Nothing would make me happier than seeing them come to their senses on phone integration.

This looks dumb. Do you really need CarPlay this bad?
Look, I don't love having to resort to this. I agree it's not beautiful or elegant. The power cord and mount are not pleasing to look at. Having yet another screen in the truck is redundant. But ultimately I will sacrifice aesthetic for function. The native infotainment does not serve me well. CarPlay does. If you're happy with the system in its current state, good for you. For those of us who aren't this is an option.
Great job. How much does it reduce your field of vision?
 
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astonius

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Great job. How much does it reduce your field of vision?
Thanks! It does take up a bit of the field of view, but I wouldn't say it's dangerous or unsafe. When parking I do have to crane a bit to see the passenger-side corner.
 


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I think this is the best solution and it's certainly an innovated way around the "issue". Personally I like that Rivian doesn't have it built in based on my experience with Android auto.
 
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astonius

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I think this is the best solution and it's certainly an innovated way around the "issue". Personally I like that Rivian doesn't have it built in based on my experience with Android auto.
How is having it built-in problematic? If you don't like it you can simply use the native infotainment. This seems to be a common misconception about CarPlay and Android Auto. They are not required use. They are optional additions to the native system.
 

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How is having it built-in problematic? If you don't like it you can simply use the native infotainment. This seems to be a common misconception about CarPlay and Android Auto. They are not required use. They are optional additions to the native system.

My experience was with a rental vehicle. For 2 weeks, it drove me INSANE and all I wanted to do was listen to bluetooth music from my phone. It was contantly trying to take over my phones display anytime the phone was connected and over all turned out to be my instant "I hate it forever" moment.

So if they add it, give me a turn it off button and we remain at peace.
 
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astonius

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My experience was with a rental vehicle. For 2 weeks, it drove me INSANE and all I wanted to do was listen to bluetooth music from my phone. It was contantly trying to take over my phones display anytime the phone was connected and over all turned out to be my instant "I hate it forever" moment.

So if they add it, give me a turn it off button and we remain at peace.
I don't have first-hand experience with Android Auto, but when you first plug in or bluetooth pair an iPhone it asks specifically if you want to use CarPlay with that device. You can say no and use it as a traditional USB or bluetooth device. You can also enable/disable CarPlay on a vehicle-specific basis in the settings app after initial pairing.
 


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I don't have first-hand experience with Android Auto, but when you first plug in or bluetooth pair an iPhone it asks specifically if you want to use CarPlay with that device. You can say no and use it as a traditional USB or bluetooth device. You can also enable/disable CarPlay on a vehicle-specific basis in the settings app after initial pairing.
Android Auto is the same.
 

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Yes, there is a chunk of the market that does not want CarPlay/Android Auto at all. And Tesla has established themselves as a gorilla in that chunk of the market
That is one of the things I don't like about my Tesla, lack of CarPlay. But that did not stop me from buying one.
Rivian should not follow Tesla in that regard. Promise of some future income from controling media will not materialize. Give people a choice now and when Rivian gets strong, they can offer an alternative.
 

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I got a Roadtrip unit today and installed it. I did it a little differently though, see pictures. I didn't love having it block any of my view and it's within easy reach where I installed it Need to see if the adhesive on the base will hold, if not, I can screw in place.

I am having intermittent BT audio choppiness when playing music, turning the Rivian BT off and on again seems to fix it. I am having a major issue with call audio however, it is completely garbled, sounds like an android talking, totally unusable. Seems to be an issue between the unit and the Rivian's BT. Have contacted them to see if they can help, I suspect it has something to do with the bluetooth stack on the unit. Has anyone else encountered this?

If I can get the call audio sorted out, I'll be very happy with this solution. It's not 100% perfect but it does make it a lot more functional, plus it solves my wife and I wanting to have our own Spotify playlists, contact lists, etc.

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astonius

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I got a Roadtrip unit today and installed it. I did it a little differently though, see pictures. I didn't love having it block any of my view and it's within easy reach where I installed it Need to see if the adhesive on the base will hold, if not, I can screw in place.

I am having intermittent BT audio choppiness when playing music, turning the Rivian BT off and on again seems to fix it. I am having a major issue with call audio however, it is completely garbled, sounds like an android talking, totally unusable. Seems to be an issue between the unit and the Rivian's BT. Have contacted them to see if they can help, I suspect it has something to do with the bluetooth stack on the unit. Has anyone else encountered this?

If I can get the call audio sorted out, I'll be very happy with this solution. It's not 100% perfect but it does make it a lot more functional, plus it solves my wife and I wanting to have our own Spotify playlists, contact lists, etc.

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Nice! I considered this option, but I didn’t want to put any adhesive on the dash. I am still having the same choppy Bluetooth audio you mentioned. RoadTop support sent me an updated firmware, but unfortunately it didn’t help. Your workaround is the same one I use. I sent them a video of the issue last night. I also took a brief call the other day and thought it sounded odd but didn’t give it much thought. Hopefully they get these issues worked out.
 

 
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