While I’m a staunch Apple guy, there’s no denying that Apple Maps is less than … optimal. My new vehicle has CarPlay and while I really like it the only choice you have for navigation in CarPlay is Apple Maps. While it’s gotten better in the five years since it debuted I just don’t want to use it. Waze, the Israeli-based navigation startup that Google bought in 2013, just can’t be beat. The crowdsourcing of traffic in real-time is invaluable. When I take long drives, Waze has saved me lots of time when there’s accidents on the highway. I also like that speed traps are reported there as well.
I could use my phone with Waze but if I do that I can’t use CarPlay for things like Pocket Casts or Spotify. In addition to CarPlay, my car supports Android Auto. Since Google owns Waze, I figured that Waze would be supported in Android Auto. A friend was kind enough to provide an Android phone for me to use just for Waze.
As of this writing (February 2017), Waze doesn’t support Android Auto despite being announced nearly a year ago so I decided to find a temporary solution until Waze is on Android Auto.
I decided I wanted a small tablet for the purpose of running Waze. My first instinct is to use an iPad Mini. To use Waze, I need one with built-in GPS and the only models that have GPS are the more expensive cellular models. Since this is a temporary solution solely for running Waze I wanted to keep the cost as low as possible. This meant getting an inexpensive Android tablet. After a bit of research I settled on the NVIDIA Shield K1. It’s a reasonably fast tablet, it runs the latest version of Android (Nougat), it has a built-in GPS, and it’s only $200. Now I needed something to hold the tablet in place. I chose the Okra tablet mount for vents.
Since the tablet is wi-fi only, I have to tether to my iPhone while I drive but that’s no big deal. I’ve been driving around for a few days with this and it works great.
Using a small tablet with both the screen and GPS on is draining on the battery. I acquired an Aukey 18W car charger to ensure that I can keep the tablet charged while I’m using it. I thought about simply using Android Auto on the tablet when Waze supports it and keeping it out of sight but Android Auto doesn’t work on tablets. I could try side-loading it but I probably won’t bother.