I guess I am a bit less worried about Chinese companies these days than a few years ago. One example is this carplay box that came out just a few months ago. The only thing that was sketchy about them is everything. But they were showing proof of concept that Carplay can work on existing German car stereo systems to those who want it. I’m going to rehash what I posted in an mbworld thread that nobody seems to care about, but I think is sort of cool.
So, what does any one sane person do with such unproven technology. Logically paypal money to an email address someone provided via WHATSAPP to a random person in China.
It all starts with a company putting out youtube videos like this:
And me saying “Why the f not? These guys claim to provide Carplay interfaces for BMW, Audi, Porsche and Mercedes system, all with working youtube videos. So, i go to the company website and chat with the person via the chat window. They ask for my WhatsApp number.
The next day, they contact me via WhatsApp and asked if I was interested. I said...sure. So in a bout of stupidity, I paypal the address, screenshot it and shoot it to them. They give me a DHL tracking number. That’s a good start.
This arrives in 2 day mail from HK:
Here’s a sequence of me taking apart my interior and plugging in the box. All pretty high quality harnesses.. no cutting.
So, this is the suprising thing. Mercedes NTG is an arcane complicated setup. In the entire process was aided by said lady as she went back and forth between the engineers and me.
The box didnt’ fit behind the center stack, so I called it a day and completed it a few days later when I had time. I ended up putting it in the void next to the glovebox.
And the final product:
So, now my stereo is a hybrid of a Chinese box and a German designed Japanese stereo system.
The interesting thing to note about this:
- Both the box and the harnesses were surprisingly robust, well built and well designed.
- The person I was dealing with had decent written English
- Support is surprisingly good and responsive throughout the install and troubleshooting process
- $439 for the box isn’t cheap. But I like it enough that I don’t have to buy a new car
- No Android auto support yet. That’s coming later in the year. This is software updateable via usb.
- With the way the harnesses work, the phone buttons, volume buttons and my COMAND knob and buttons all control the Carplay box. Hold down the voice button for 5 seconds on the steering wheel, and Siri pops up.
So, that’s it for now. I like it enough that I’m going to get one for my used “Minivan”. Let me know if you have any questions, but Ithought it’s interesting enough to share.