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      02-20-2012, 04:21 PM   #1
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Android and BMW Apps: possible solution...

I may not like this as I am an Android user for many reasons but I was considering to get an iPhone as soon as my F30 would come in, simply because BMW doesn't seem to fully support Android when it comes to the full functionality of the Apps. Or so at least it appeared to me.

So yesterday I was doing some reading on what plans/provider/etc would be the best to go with if I did hop onto the iPhone bandwagon. I also looked up information regarding the snap-in adapters and several other things. When, all of a sudden, I stumbled on an older post on the bimmerfest forums.

One of the posters (thumper_330) mentioned that he had a second hand iPhone 3GS (which are quite cheap nowadays if you get them 2nd hands) in his car in the snap-in adapter and had it set to WIFI only. He did not have any subscription or anything else for this phone.

Now, what he did instead was, he downloaded an app for Android called Tasker and gave it several rules so that when his Android phone (his regular phone) was hooked up to the Bluetooth of his car and connected to a power source (USB car power under the armrest), it would active the mobile hotspot within his Android phone and his iPhone 3GS would automatically connect over WIFi. When he would take his Android phone off the power source or away from the BT, the tether would automatically disable again.

He stated that this gave him full functionality over the BMW Apps while not having to give up his Android phone. He also stated something about ios5 on his iPhone and that he could actually sync his iPhone with his iTunes computer through the home WIFI whenever it was parked in the garage, which is indeed a nice additional feature. And, and this is also quite nice, since he now has WIFI within his car, any laptop or tablet can also connect over to the internet over that same WIFI tether.

So this morning I have downloaded the tasker app, I played a bit with it and can confirm, as far as automatically enabling the WIFI tether goes, this does indeed work. However, since I am not in the possession of a iPhone 3GS, or the BMW F30 yet, I cannot confirm the last steps needed in this process (meaning if the full functionality of the BMW Apps is indeed activated by doing this).

If this does indeed work, I will not get the latest iPhone (or iPhone 5 when that comes out) but will opt for a new 4G (speed!) Android phone and a second hand iPhone 3GS instead (or iPod Touch, which would actually be even nicer to have IF this would work with full functionality but I have no clue about that (can anyone with the F30, BMW Apps and an iPod Touch confirm this perhaps?), I don't even know if the iPod Touch would fit in the Apps snap-in adapter lol).

Again, I cannot confirm the BMW Apps can indeed be used to it's full potential through this but it would make sense if it did. Also, Tasker can prove to be a bit confusing when you never used it before so, if people are interested in this approach but have no idea how to set this app, I can make a photo tutorial for that in the next post (which I will reserve for this purpose) a bit later, just let me know here if so
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      02-20-2012, 04:22 PM   #2
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Like promised, here's a little guide/tutorial to get the BMW Apps in the F30 working as described above.

Disclaimer: As you may understand I can take no responsibility if anything goes wrong, or if something turns out not to be working like expected. The above seems to be working for me inside my X5 with an iPad, but I haven't been able to test it fully with BMW Apps in the F30 and a iPhone 3GS or iPod Touch. Some settings within Android might be slightly different, depending on your phone and software version but it should be mostly the same as it is with me.

For the purpose of this guide, I start with the idea that your Android phone is already linked to the BMW Bluetooth and that it has stored it's name and such so it auto connects to your car. If you don't need how to do this, I would like to refer you to the BMW manual

First thing you need to do, if you haven't already, is to change some settings within your Android phone in regards to the Mobile Access Point. To do this, go to the following location: 'settings' > 'Wireless and network' > 'Mobile AP' > 'Mobile AP settings'.

In the next screen you will be able to make some changes. Enter any name, if there is no name yet or if you want a more personalized name, in the Network SSID field, under Security select "WPA2 PSK" and figure out a password, one easy enough for you to remember but hard enough so others cannot guess it, and enter this in the Password field. It should look a bit like in the 3rd picture below:



When this is all done, your phone is basically set up to be a Mobile Access Point. If you don't want any of the following steps, you could of course manually enable to Mobile AP by simply ticking the box at 'Mobile AP' in the middle picture above. However, that would mean you had to do it manually every time while it can be done fully automatically.

Now, to enable, and disable, the Mobile AP only when you are within your car, and preferable have your phone hooked up to a power supply in your car to avoid the extra battery drain, you can follow the following steps.

The program I used to do this is called Tasker. Tasker is an App you can either download from Android Market or from the
Developer's website which gives you a 7 day trial. The App currently costs $6.49, so it's not one of the cheapest apps but once you get the hang of it, you'll see it's actually worth the money as it can do a lot of things.

After you downloaded and installed the app, just open it. Since it's the first time you're using the app, it will show several tool tips but you can just ignore those. Personally I always have the WIFI on my phone on, so I made this guide with that in mind as it will have a function to turn it off inside the car and turn it back on once you leave the car. If you want to skip these, that's possible but make sure you do add the variables that are part of these steps. I will write in red what you can skip if you feel you don't need the automated WIFI on and off (problem really is that WIFI has to be off in order to make the Mobile AP work, and for some reason it does not come back on once the Mobile AP turns it off.. my small workaround seems to fix this).



Once you get to the first screen above (probably right after you click away the tooltip), you should first click on the green plus sign. The following window will open up:



You can enter any name in the screen in the first picture above, but it might be easy for clarification to use a similar name as I did. Also don't forget the 1 in the end because we need to make 2 profiles and this way we can keep them apart of each other (and if you make more profiles in the future, you will know these are together). Once you did this, tap on the green check mark, the second picture above will be shown where you have to tap on State.

Now, in the next screen, click on Net. Then, in the next screen on Bluetooth Connected and you will then see another screen with two empty optional fields: Name and Address. If you click, in this screen, on the magnifiers, it will actually show the name of your BMW Bluetooth (and if you have more than one BT connection, it will probably show more than just one) and it's MAC Address (I removed a part of it for security reasons):



Select the right one for your car, and do this with both the Name and the Address field. After you're done, click the green check mark and it will ask you what to do next, click in this screen on New Task.

First give the new task a name, I called it Wifi Off as that is the main functionality of this task. If you do not care about your WIFI status, you can also give it a different name (either way, you do have to give it a name). After you have given it a name, click on the green check mark.

In the next screen, it will ask you what kind of task you want to run.

(if you do not care about the WIFI status, you can skip this part in red, the next step is written where the text goes into black again)

Select Settings in the bottom of this screen, then click on Net and then select WiFi and make sure the setting has been set to Off. After this click on the green check mark to confirm the setting.

You should now be seeing the following screen below (unless you didn't do this step lol)
:



In this next screen, click on the blue-ish plus sign, then scroll a bit down on the next screen to Variable and click on it, and then select Variable Set.

Now enter the Name and To fields similar as in the following picture. Then click the green check mark to confirm the setting.[/color], you should be seeing a screen like the second picture below and there you click once more on the green check mark to confirm the setting.



Next you will see the screen like below. Click on the task Wifi Off (or whatever name you picked) and keep pressing down on this until a screen opens such as in the second picture below.



In this new screen, click on Add Exit Task. It will now ask what you want to do, click on New Task and give it a name. Again, if you don't do the WIFI settings, it can be a different name but since it will change the variable again, it will need a name at least. After the name has been given a name, click on the green check mark. Now add a new task by clicking on the blue-ish plus sign.

(again, if you do not care about the WIFI status, you can skip the next part and continue with the variable (that's where the text goes back into black :P )

Now click on Settings (in the bottom), then on Net and in the next screen click on WiFi. You will see similar screen again, asking what you want to do with the WIFI, make sure it is set to On and then click on the green check mark to confirm the new setting. In the next screen, click on the blue-ish plus sign again and
in this next screen you scroll down a bit, click on Variable and then on Variable Set.

Since you already set the variable before, it will be easier to give it a name, just click on the button with the luggage tag symbol and you will see the variable listed. Simply click the variable name and it will be added to the Name field. Obviously you can also type it but this way there is little room for error. In the To field, type 'Off', and the screen should look similar as the one below:



Next click on the green check mark to confirm this variable setting, and in the next screen click again on the green check mark. You should now see the whole first profile called 'BMW Apps - 1' like the picture below:



The profile above will now run (if Tasker is enabled) once you enter the car, where it will shut down the WIFI and change a variable. It will turn back on the WIFI once you leave the car. So far nothing spectacular (although it might save you some battery as you normally don't need your WIFI when driving).

Next we will make the second profile, this one will turn the WIFI Tether on and off while we're hooked up to a power supply within the car. It will see whether or not we're in the car thanks to the earlier set variable. This way either profile will only work while in the car, and making sure it is connected to a power supply will be better for your battery too as a WIFI Tether can drain that quite fast.

Now, click on the green plus sign and it will ask you once again what the new profile name should be. To make it easier, I called this profile "BMW Apps - 2" (how original, right? Haha). Once you gave it a name, click on the green check mark and on the next screen, click on State. On the next screen, click on Power and when it asks you to choose between Battery and Power, select Power once more. Make sure the setting is set to Any and click the green check mark to confirm this.

We now have to assign some tasks to this profile, so click on New Task and give the new task a name. I called it "Tether On", like in the first screen below, as this is what the task essentially will be doing.



Now click on the blue-ish plus sign to add a new action to this task. Click below on [b]Settings[b] and select Net. Click in the next screen, the one you also see in the second picture above, on Wifi Tether.

Now set make sure it is set to On and check the check box next to If, like in the image below.



Set the box in the bottom left corner (below 'if') to the variable name (I used %BluetoothOnOff). You can do this either by clicking on the luggage tag symbol and selecting the variable name, or by typing the name in that field (make sure it's exactly the same). And in the empty field at the other side, on the right corner, simply type 'On'. Now click on the green check mark to confirm this.

It should now be showing the screen like below:



Now click on the task named Tether On and keep pressing it down, just like the one before, until a new screen pops up with the option to add an exit task. Click on Add Exit Task in this screen and select New Task on the next. Now Give the task a name, I chose to name it "Tether Off", again because this is essentially what the task will be doing. Once done, click the green check mark to confirm.

In the next screen you will need to create yet another task. Click on the blue-ish plus sign, click on Settings below and select Net. In the next screen, click on WiFi Tether and make sure the setting is set to Off. There is no need to set an If statement here, just click on the green check mark and you'll be back on the previous screen again.

Click in this screen again on the blue-ish plus sign to create another action for this task. Scroll down to Variable and click on it. Next select Variable Set and make it look as in the first picture below. Click on the green check mark to confirm and you should be seeing your tasks like in the second picture below. Click on the green check mark once more to confirm everything.



You should now be seeing a screen similar as the third picture above. And you will have basically set everything up as it should be. Now only click on the Off button in the bottom-right corner to make Tasker active and it will be running while your phone is on (it will also automatically start up if your phone is turned off and on again). To turn Tasker off, just turn on that same button again.

Now whenever you will enter your car, and make a connection between your phone and car, it will automatically turn off WIFI. When you connect to the power supply, it will automatically turn on the Mobile Access Point but only IF the variable has been set to On, which is done in the first profile. Once you disconnect power or simply the Bluetooth connection, it should return to it's original status

Here's how it works on video:



I hope this helped =)
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Last edited by svache; 02-23-2012 at 05:41 AM. Reason: Added a guide.
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      02-21-2012, 05:45 PM   #3
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I am using basically the same setup. I have an IPOD touch connected to the USB running the BMW connected app And My android phone is setup as a portable hotspot so the ipod connects to it. So far everything works fine. I have facebook, twitter and calendar setup.
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      02-21-2012, 05:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kbuys View Post
I am using basically the same setup. I have an IPOD touch connected to the USB running the BMW connected app And My android phone is setup as a portable hotspot so the ipod connects to it. So far everything works fine. I have facebook, twitter and calendar setup.
That's awesome news! I'd rather buy me a new iPod Touch than a second hand 3GS
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      02-21-2012, 07:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svache View Post
I may not like this as I am an Android user for many reasons but I was considering to get an iPhone as soon as my F30 would come in, simply because BMW doesn't seem to fully support Android when it comes to the full functionality of the Apps. Or so at least it appeared to me.

So yesterday I was doing some reading on what plans/provider/etc would be the best to go with if I did hop onto the iPhone bandwagon. I also looked up information regarding the snap-in adapters and several other things. When, all of a sudden, I stumbled on an older post on the bimmerfest forums.

One of the posters (thumper_330) mentioned that he had a second hand iPhone 3GS (which are quite cheap nowadays if you get them 2nd hands) in his car in the snap-in adapter and had it set to WIFI only. He did not have any subscription or anything else for this phone.

Now, what he did instead was, he downloaded an app for Android called Tasker and gave it several rules so that when his Android phone (his regular phone) was hooked up to the Bluetooth of his car and connected to a power source (USB car power under the armrest), it would active the mobile hotspot within his Android phone and his iPhone 3GS would automatically connect over WIFi. When he would take his Android phone off the power source or away from the BT, the tether would automatically disable again.

He stated that this gave him full functionality over the BMW Apps while not having to give up his Android phone. He also stated something about ios5 on his iPhone and that he could actually sync his iPhone with his iTunes computer through the home WIFI whenever it was parked in the garage, which is indeed a nice additional feature. And, and this is also quite nice, since he now has WIFI within his car, any laptop or tablet can also connect over to the internet over that same WIFI tether.

So this morning I have downloaded the tasker app, I played a bit with it and can confirm, as far as automatically enabling the WIFI tether goes, this does indeed work. However, since I am not in the possession of a iPhone 3GS, or the BMW F30 yet, I cannot confirm the last steps needed in this process (meaning if the full functionality of the BMW Apps is indeed activated by doing this).

If this does indeed work, I will not get the latest iPhone (or iPhone 5 when that comes out) but will opt for a new 4G (speed!) Android phone and a second hand iPhone 3GS instead (or iPod Touch, which would actually be even nicer to have IF this would work with full functionality but I have no clue about that (can anyone with the F30, BMW Apps and an iPod Touch confirm this perhaps?), I don't even know if the iPod Touch would fit in the Apps snap-in adapter lol).

Again, I cannot confirm the BMW Apps can indeed be used to it's full potential through this but it would make sense if it did. Also, Tasker can prove to be a bit confusing when you never used it before so, if people are interested in this approach but have no idea how to set this app, I can make a photo tutorial for that in the next post (which I will reserve for this purpose) a bit later, just let me know here if so
Interested?? I think this is a BRILLIANT idea.

I've been waiting for BMW to release the "available in the fall of 2010" MyBMW app for Android, but instead of doing so, they removed the press release announcing it from their website. So, that tells me BMWs are going to remain iOS-centric for some time to come.

I don't like iPhones -- I like my HTC Sensation. But there's no real support for it, and this seems like an absolutely great way to get the functionality going in an F30 without having to switch. I also like it because it means you don't have to take your phone out of the snap-in adapter every time you want to leave the car.

I can't wait for the full DIY.
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      02-21-2012, 11:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yobyot View Post
I can't wait for the full DIY.
Ok no problem, will make a guide a bit later today
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      02-23-2012, 05:42 AM   #7
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Ok done =)
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      02-26-2012, 12:24 AM   #8
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That's fantastic, thanks for posting this svache! That's one problem solved, now on to world peace!

Can't wait to play with this when my ride gets here.
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      02-26-2012, 02:10 AM   #9
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svache, thanks taking the time to write a comprehensive guide! Very helpful!

/first post
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      02-26-2012, 03:06 AM   #10
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You're welcome guys, glad to be of help =)
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      02-26-2012, 04:47 PM   #11
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Now if only we could get Android emails and text messages to be read by the system.
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      02-26-2012, 05:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raspartan View Post
Now if only we could get Android emails and text messages to be read by the system.
That is indeed a major flaw in this setup
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      02-26-2012, 05:47 PM   #13
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Well thanks to this workaround it's much better than before.

According to this web site the email functionality looks like it would be dependent on the device supporting Message Access Profile (MAP) in Bluetooth. My older Captivate would certainly not support this, but maybe someone with a newer phone would be able to get it working.
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      02-26-2012, 06:41 PM   #14
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If that's the situation, then perhaps the phones listed through the menu on this page should be working, I think: http://www.bmwusa.com/bluetooth
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      04-23-2012, 07:13 PM   #15
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Hi svache.
I appreciate the great write-up, but now I'm wondering how things actually turned out now that you've had your car for a little while?

Did you end up getting an iPod Touch, or a 3GS? Does the Tasker app and automatic wifi tether seem to work smoothly in the car?

Thanks!!
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      04-23-2012, 09:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ewill858 View Post
Hi svache.
I appreciate the great write-up, but now I'm wondering how things actually turned out now that you've had your car for a little while?

Did you end up getting an iPod Touch, or a 3GS? Does the Tasker app and automatic wifi tether seem to work smoothly in the car?

Thanks!!
lol I know I should try it out but I never actually did as I was already thinking about getting a iPhone 5 once it comes out and my subscription is over.

Then again... my sister is currently visiting, she brought her iPhone 4S so I think I will give it a try just to confirm if the above works and perhaps indeed get a 3GS if this setup works and stick with Android instead once my subscription runs out in a few months =)

I'll let you know within a few days
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      04-24-2012, 01:23 PM   #17
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Well I have tried it with my sister's iPhone 4 (not the 4S as earlier indicated) and it seems to work like it should, as long as the BMW ConnectedDrive app on the iPhone was on while connected to the car through the USB cable. All apps such as Facebook, News, Twitter etc etc worked without problem.

Wifi seems to be pretty stable, well, that is a stable as the connection goes. If you have a provider that has great connection where you usually drive, then you should have no problem working with this and I can imagine that if you have 4G, it will work even better

I am wondering what benefits I would have if I owned a (new) iPhone though and if I were to use the cradle instead of the USB cable.

Also, what I would like, for example, is that if I were to use this setup, that the iPhone would automatically connect to my home Wifi as soon as I parked the car so it could auto sync itself but it seems that it is incapable of switching networks without entering passwords again. I haven't been looking much into this so perhaps there is an option for it but I noticed yesterday I lost the previous Wifi settings when I entered the settings for my phone.

Also, what would be the difference between using an iPhone 3 or 4 for this setup? And will it work with an iPod Touch as well? I haven't been able to try the 3 or Touch as I have no-one near me with those devices. I'd rather buy a 3 or Touch if it is the same as the 4, of course.

Anyways, I can say at this point that the above setup works perfect with the iPhone 4 for BMW Apps.
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      04-24-2012, 05:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svache View Post
Well I have tried it with my sister's iPhone 4 (not the 4S as earlier indicated) and it seems to work like it should, as long as the BMW ConnectedDrive app on the iPhone was on while connected to the car through the USB cable. All apps such as Facebook, News, Twitter etc etc worked without problem.

Wifi seems to be pretty stable, well, that is a stable as the connection goes. If you have a provider that has great connection where you usually drive, then you should have no problem working with this and I can imagine that if you have 4G, it will work even better

I am wondering what benefits I would have if I owned a (new) iPhone though and if I were to use the cradle instead of the USB cable.

Also, what I would like, for example, is that if I were to use this setup, that the iPhone would automatically connect to my home Wifi as soon as I parked the car so it could auto sync itself but it seems that it is incapable of switching networks without entering passwords again. I haven't been looking much into this so perhaps there is an option for it but I noticed yesterday I lost the previous Wifi settings when I entered the settings for my phone.

Also, what would be the difference between using an iPhone 3 or 4 for this setup? And will it work with an iPod Touch as well? I haven't been able to try the 3 or Touch as I have no-one near me with those devices. I'd rather buy a 3 or Touch if it is the same as the 4, of course.

Anyways, I can say at this point that the above setup works perfect with the iPhone 4 for BMW Apps.
Thanks for the update! It would be nice to just buy a Touch dedicated for the car and leave it connected at all times. I'm curious, did the automatic WiFi hotspot start up properly using the Android "Tasker" app? Do you think this could be used in a seamless manner (i.e. start the car, and wifi tethering starts and connects to the iphone automatically)?

I appreciate you sharing your experiences with this.
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      04-24-2012, 06:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewill858 View Post
Thanks for the update! It would be nice to just buy a Touch dedicated for the car and leave it connected at all times. I'm curious, did the automatic WiFi hotspot start up properly using the Android "Tasker" app? Do you think this could be used in a seamless manner (i.e. start the car, and wifi tethering starts and connects to the iphone automatically)?

I appreciate you sharing your experiences with this.
That's essentially what he's saying here. Based on my experiments with Tasker (no F30) that shouldn't be too difficult.
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      04-24-2012, 06:34 PM   #20
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First rate post, well done!
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      04-25-2012, 01:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewill858 View Post
Thanks for the update! It would be nice to just buy a Touch dedicated for the car and leave it connected at all times. I'm curious, did the automatic WiFi hotspot start up properly using the Android "Tasker" app? Do you think this could be used in a seamless manner (i.e. start the car, and wifi tethering starts and connects to the iphone automatically)?

I appreciate you sharing your experiences with this.
That's a bit how it worked. Since the Tasker app sees the bluetooth connection, it knows the ignition of the car is on (dunno if it can be told when it is actually running) and having the power supply on as well means you're also actually inside the car. It worked exactly like I initially outlined in my 2nd post of this topic

The only thing I cannot guarantee is if it works with an iPod Touch since I have none available and don't really want to buy one without knowing for sure if it works. I will, however, try in a couple of days to see if I can get it to work with my wife's iPad 2. If that works, then I'm betting it should also work with an iPod Touch
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      04-25-2012, 02:51 PM   #22
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I have and old Touch 2nd Gen I am planning to use for music in my F30. The 2G and later have bluettoth, so should work fine. When I get home I'll test with my Android phone hotspot to verify. Not picking up my car until 5/11 but don't have to have the car to test that.

The iPad shold work the same.
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