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Plugging Android into USB - User Experience

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by SimplyFoolish, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. SimplyFoolish

    SimplyFoolish Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm anxiously awaiting my Model S!

    In the meantime, what's the experience with plugging an Android phone into the USB port?
    • Will the car scan for Music like it was a USB Flash?
    • If so, does the scan take a long time?
    • Does it re-scan every time?

    Right now, I have a Ford with Sync and the scanning process is painfully slow, completely unusable and it does it on every plugin. I'm trying to determine if I need to bother getting a USB Flash or if I can just use my phone..
     
  2. RAW84

    RAW84 Member

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    Any reason you are not considering using Bluetooth?

    I have an iPhone now, but had an Android phone for the first year I had the car. I used Bluetooth for music.
     
  3. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    Congrats on your new MS!

    I also use an iPhone, but as it is, MS Media Player does not utilize audio sources via USB. Period. There is no hardwired external audio connectivity in MS. If you plug your Droid in, just like with an iPhone, it will charge, but that's it via the USB connection.

    As RAW84 suggests, your only options are Bluetooth or USB. If you use the latter, there are a number of other threads discussing the limitations (there are several)... but to your questions, yes, scanning will take place every time you insert the USB stick and the time it takes varies of course based on the number of tracks involved. It's "a couple minutes" if I put in a stick with just a few tracks or podcasts, but OTOH I maintain more than 16K tracks on my primary 256GB USB stick as a subset of my iTunes Library, and it takes a VERY long time to scan -- I put the stick in, cause scanning to take place, then walk away and it's done next time I come back to my MS. I know it won't complete in 20 mins (that's the max I've ever watched it), so takes something longer than that -- IDK how long in reality. I've just learned to compromise and don't update my music very often in my MS like I used to when I had physical hardwired iPod capability in my previous rides. Check those other threads for hints/tips and limitations with USB and Media Player, but two immediate thoughts:
    • When you insert a new USB device, Media Player will not always automatically start scanning it (that's a bug IMHO). To be sure it will, go to the Media Player, find the USB port you plugged your flash device into, and select it. You'll see a message that scanning has begun or will begin after the other port is completed.
    • Also, if you are listening to USB music and leave your MS, you may encounter phantom playing while MS is off -- again, see other threads for details -- but the workaround is to remember to switch to say an FM channel every time you exit MS, then reselect your USB music again when you get back in. ;) Sorry, MS is a great vehicle, but there are lots of Media Player issues that have existed for a very long time -- and it's really frustrating to yours truly, amongst others.

    My suggestion as it sounds like you change audio tracks often, like what RAW84 suggests, is to use Bluetooth. You'll perhaps loose a little audio quality depending on how you were going to record your tracks to USB because of Bluetooth audio compression, but you won't have the scanning delay each time you change your music or the possible phantom playing problem -- AND -- when you get out of your MS, you'll be able to continue listening to your tunes where you left off and vice-versa.

    Enjoy that new MS!
     
  4. ErnstT

    ErnstT Active Member

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    USB scanning is a lot faster for an external SSD like the Samsung T1 drives up to 500GB that has "ludicrous" fast R/W speed. My 250GB takes typical less than few minutes. For a USB stick especially larger ones like 128 or 256GB stick, scanning can take a long time indeed.
     
  5. SimplyFoolish

    SimplyFoolish Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. I was shying away from bluetooth because I wanted to use the voice commands to play music. Am I right in thinking I can just hit the voice button and say "Play Daft Punk" and the car will play it from the USB? I don't think you get that with bluetooth. But can you easily trigger Google Now with a button in the car? If so, then that would fit the bill. Does the car support Bluetooth/AptX?

    (also anyone else notice in just about every Tesla walkthrough video they have a Daft Punk song?)

    Picking the car up from Fremont on the 24th and autopiloting it up to Seattle. :)
     
  6. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    I don't think the voice commands allow you to play music. To be honest the Voice Recognition in the Tesla is rather disappointing - my Lexus was far better than the Tesla at this and it had more functionality available to voice commands.
     
  7. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    Voice commands for Media Player are limited to Slacker, E.g. When you say "Play Daft Punk", you'll get a list of hits on Slacker where "Daft Punk" is part of the title or a channel name, you can then touch the one you want on the 17" and it plays. USB has no connection to MS Voice commands.

    I can't answer your question about Google Now as I don't have a Droid. If I plug my iPhone in to power in the car and say "Hey Siri", it's replies display on my iPhone if I want to take my eyes off the road to read them, but from there I can interact with Siri e.g. by saying "Play Music" or "Skip a track" and it will do that with the music from my iPhone playing over the MS Bluetooth connection. (BTW, that is also a workaround if I wanted to place a call to someone without using MS' phone dialer.) IIRC, Google implemented a similar function, so maybe there is hope with what you desire, but I have no way to confirm for you. It won't though cause magic to happen with your USB stick which is plugged into MS -- you are stuck with my original description of what MS is and is not capable of.
     
  8. SimplyFoolish

    SimplyFoolish Member

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    Thank for the details, very helpful!
     
  9. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #9 scottm, Mar 2, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016

    The voice reco is actually amazingly good at picking up on what you said.

    Now, if only we could do more things by voice command, that would be great.
    Right now, voice commands are to play song requests (only from Slacker), or input a navigation target. And also to file a "bug report". But who uses that anymore, I don't know?

    Song requests always present a list on the center console (for me anyway) to pick from, have to use my finger for that.

    Quite often navigation requests present a list on the console that you have to pick from as well, but sometimes it gets one bang-on if it is unique enough... Saying "Navigate home" always just pulls up a route to my house. With no screen pick necessary.

    I would like to see a browser search by voice command. That types it out for you in the address/search bar... so all you have to do is press enter.
    ..and 1000 other things.. basically any control on the console that is not always present at the top or bottom HVAC / audio area... Anything that is a menu or screen or two deep... just voice it rather than trying to navigate there.
     
  10. bob_p

    bob_p Member

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    Smartphone integration is relatively weak, especially compared to newer vehicles with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (such as the Chevy Bolt coming out later this year).

    At least for my smartphones, USB is only used to provide charging. When I select my smartphone from the media player's device menu, it accesses the phone by Bluetooth - not USB.

    And, when the phone is connected via Bluetooth, that may disable voice command on the phone - and the voice command in the car's software has very limited functionality, and doesn't provide much support for the media app.

    While I have my music library on my smartphone, I also have a copy on a USB memory stick - and use that in the car. I only use my smartphone to play audio books (via Bluetooth) or for phone calls.

    Also, if you are only USB for charging the phone - you may be better off to purchase a USB power adapter and use that rather than the built-in USB ports, because the separate power adapters may be able to provide more power to the phones than the built-in Tesla ports.
     
  11. iffatall

    iffatall Member

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    Google Now (just like Siri) basically works per the phone settings. The car simply relays audio in/out via bluetooth if you have it selected.

    So first, check your phone settings as to when calling Google Now (OK Google, or whatever you have set) works. Does it work from any screen? Does it work when screen is locked? Does it work when charging irrespective of lock/unlock state? You need to make sure that when in the car, the phone is in a state where calling Google Now works - screen not locked if your settings are such, USB connected to charge if your settings are such. I am not sure how Siri acts when the phone screen is locked and/or when charging, but I would expect the behavior to similarly depend on how Siri is setup.

    Once you have made sure calling Google Now works, the next step is to connect your phone to the car via bluetooth, and selecting bluetooth as the Media Player source. This will enable the phone to hear you through the car's mic and the response from Google Now will be played on the car's speakers. Otherwise, your phone's mic and speakers will be used. I believe this is the same for Siri as well.

    So, long story short, the car doesn't really do much here except for relaying audio/in and out when your phone is selected as the source on Media Player. The rest simply depend on the settings of the phone. No real integration really.
     
  12. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    Thx for info to help Android users.

    ...but to your questions, no, things seem a bit different with iPhone. There is a single iOS setting to allow Siri to listen for "Hey Siri" when it's plugged in to power. I easily plug my iPhone into the MS USB port of my Center Console, then any time I say "Hey Siri" or e.g. ""Hey Siri Play Music" (meaning, start playing whatever was playing on the iPhone last) the iPhone mic picks it up and Siri does the action. Responses are displayed on the iPhone screen for now which isn't always optimal, but in the case of phone or music audio, since my phone was previously paired, it immediately plays via Bluetooth without any other interaction or setup on the iPhone or my MS. Easy-peezy. ;)
     

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