Hope for Android users?

Kenwood's new Music Control app for Android


Ken Nail

Ken Nail has written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. He's an avid music listener, whose favorites are classical and film music. When not chained to a desk, Ken spends most of his time training for triathlons and marathons, and likes getting outside for backpacking, downhill skiing, and bicycle touring. He attended West Virginia University, where he received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History.

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If you're an Android phone user and car audio enthusiast, you may feel like the deck is stacked against you. "Made for iPhone®" pops up on nearly every new car receiver's feature list, but there's not a lot of love out there for Android phones. Sure, you can connect your Android phone to a new car receiver with a patch cable to the auxiliary input, or even use a Bluetooth link. But these connections have their limitations, both sonically and in the amount of control they offer from the receiver.

But the winds may be shifting towards Android. Kenwood's new Music Link for Android feature, available on all their 2012 receivers with USB inputs, offers a new level of control over the music stored on your Android device.

Mood%20SearchThe Mood Search screen

Music Control

The first thing you'll need to do is to head to the Android Marketplace and search for "Kenwood Music Control." The app is free, so download it and install it on your Android gadget. The app will import and categorize your music, which might take a little time, so you may want to give it a chance to do its thing overnight before you try it out.

iPod® functionality (only better)

When you're setting out for a drive, plug your Android into the USB input on your Kenwood receiver and you're ready to enjoy your music. According to the latest scoop from Kenwood, you'll have search features for playlists, artists, albums, songs, and genre. That's familiar territory for those of us used to using an iPod, but Music Control goes a bit further with Mood Search — it sorts your musc by moods like Relax, Vivid, Cool, Urban, and more.

How's it work?

We get a lot of questions from Droid fans on compatiblity of car audio gear with Android phones, so for Android users, this is pretty promising stuff. We'll be setting up some tests in the Crutchfield Labs soon to check out how well Music Control gets the job done with a variety of different Kenwood receivers.

I'll be back with more soon!

  • The Doctor from Sydney

    Posted on 11/14/2015 9:41:54 AM

    I see this is a pretty old thread and it seems that 2 years on, car audio manufacturers are still favoring iPhone over Android and almost EVERYTHING in the shop says "Made for iPhone" I just bought and installed the Kenwood DDX4015BT 2Din Touch Screen model in my car and it is a great unit no doubt about it. My iPhone 5 connected straight up and plays beautifully through USB & Bluetooth with any app that I choose. However the unit only supports apps for the iPhone & ipod up to the 4th Gen so far so that functionality is lost to me, but the music quality is great. My Samsung Galaxy Note 4 however took a bit of coaxing to connect and trust the Kenwood and as a phone works equal as well through the stereo. Unfortunately that is where the functionality ends. I can't play the music from the phone through Bluetooth or USB and the USB doesn't recognize the files on the phone so even in mass storage mode it's just charging off the radio. My question is this: Is it because Android don't make the firmware drivers freely available to the manufacturers and apple does? Or is it just because the stats say iPhone is the more popular choice with a bigger market share and so manufacturers only cater to the needs of the many? My 2013 Fujitsu Ten Yaris Stereo could play from android over BT with a lower volume and poorer quality than the iPhone but it did work. It also used to play through the USB input which it never did with the iPhone. So why can't the Kenwood?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/16/2015 1:30:53 PM

    The Doctor, we feel your pain. The simple answer is that Apple's operating system is consistent while multiple brands adapt the Android platform to fit their needs. So, it's more difficult to cover all the bases when it comes to Android. Android Auto on select head units is an attempt to improve compatibility issues, but if you're using Android devices that are a few years old, you might run into trouble (as you've noticed). In your case, differences in Bluetooth protocols may be to blame. A firmware update to your Kenwood receiver may help. You may find better answers and updates on Kenwood's site.

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