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[APP][PX5] Radio app replacement

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By mike.b, Junior Member on 29th September 2018, 11:01 AM
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Reworked Px5/MTCD Radio app

This is modified Radio app for head units.
I reverse-engineered original Radio app into source code, and now try to make something better.

Current features:
  • on/off button on screen, mapped to play/pause steering wheel key
  • volume control on screen
  • AM band removed (may be put back in some future version)
  • full-screen
  • added clock
  • added speed of vehicle (from GPS)




What's wrong with original Radio app (as I see it):
  • back button stops it (instead of putting to background)
  • fixed amount of FM stations (18)
  • no station management found stations
  • missing on/off button
  • some options are useless (stereo, loc), should go to options menu
  • volume can't be easy controlled on screen while driving

Plans for future development:
  • vertical scrolling list of stations
  • better management of stations and tuning (add/remove/move stations)
  • multiple stations presets (in case you use to drive in different locations)
  • nicer user interface
  • option to work as home-screen launcher (= main app on device)
  • settings screen
  • button for launching some other app (e.g. navigation app or other homescreen launcher)

Integration details:
No root is required. Just install APK. This is separate app, and doesn't overwrite stock Radio. You can use it alongside default Radio. But don't use both radio apps at same time, this may not work good. When you wish, you can uninstall this app anytime.

Version: 20180929 (alpha)
Source code
Download APK
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29th September 2018, 11:05 AM |#2  
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Wow.

Thanks for sharing
29th September 2018, 04:51 PM |#3  
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Great, pls post feed back. I'm out of town and would love to install it when I get back.
29th September 2018, 04:58 PM |#4  
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Thank you for sharing!
Can you Upload the source code to GitHub? So others can contribute and create merge request.
29th September 2018, 10:16 PM |#5  
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Source code is on Bitbucket. Is same as GitHub, just different service.
30th September 2018, 05:43 AM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike.b

Source code is on Bitbucket. Is same as GitHub, just different service.

I cloned it from BitBucket and compiled in Android Studio and it compiled OK.

But I've not had time to try it in the car. I will try to test later today.

I've also not had time to look at the code.


BTW. Slighly off topic, ideally I'd like to modify the operation of the steering wheel controls, specifically the Mode feature, as it cycles though useless things like the Video player and the reversing camera.

Currently I just set the Mode button on my steering wheel to the "Home" action, which is actually quite good, but it would be nice to have more flexibility with this.

Also for people who have CAN bus control from the Steering wheel its very limited, as they can't change the functions of the button at all.

I'm lucky that my car does not use CAN bus for this (its too old ), and mine just operates via one wire from the 6 buttons, with each button being a different resistance.

I experimented with possibly using the Mode button like a Shift key, because I hoped I could do Shift Next or Shift back, or perhaps Shift Mute to do different actions.
But the existing Core features respond to the change too quickly, so I either get Mode or Mute, but not Mode in parallel with Mute.

So recompiling and recompiling the Core that handles this would be great
However I think it may not be possible as the code seems obfuscated
1st October 2018, 02:32 PM |#7  
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Good job 👍
Thanks for your hard work
I’ll try it
1st October 2018, 03:19 PM |#8  
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It's definitely a bit rough at the moment, but still great work. You could do with adding AM back though, it's still very popular in the UK.
1st October 2018, 04:03 PM |#9  
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AM can be added later, but it made a lot of mess in code, so as part of cleanup was removed.
In principle, user may not care if it's AM or FM, it's just another tuned station, so AM/FM could be mixed in same list.

Current Radio offers very little management of stations. You can save station by long press on button, or find all available stations and assign to the 18 buttons.

I'd think on better usability of tuning and stations.
Considerations:
- Often you drive in same place, so you want one preset of saved stations
- Sometimes (or often) you drive long distances, where signal of your saved stations is lost, so you want tune manually
- You may have more "home" locations, so multiple saved station lists could be done and switched among them
- Station list should be auto-tuned, then stations rearranged, deleted, renamed
- Steering-wheel buttons for previous/next station may cycle between just few favorite stations, while another ones may be saved in station list, which you can switch to manually on screen
- Usual 6-buttons of favorite stations may be on screen, allowing to fast switch to favorite station

UI proposal:
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1st October 2018, 10:33 PM |#10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike.b

AM can be added later, but it made a lot of mess in code, so as part of cleanup was removed.
In principle, user may not care if it's AM or FM, it's just another tuned station, so AM/FM could be mixed in same list.

Current Radio offers very little management of stations. You can save station by long press on button, or find all available stations and assign to the 18 buttons.

I'd think on better usability of tuning and stations.
Considerations:
- Often you drive in same place, so you want one preset of saved stations
- Sometimes (or often) you drive long distances, where signal of your saved stations is lost, so you want tune manually
- You may have more "home" locations, so multiple saved station lists could be done and switched among them
- Station list should be auto-tuned, then stations rearranged, deleted, renamed
- Steering-wheel buttons for previous/next station may cycle between just few favorite stations, while another ones may be saved in station list, which you can switch to manually on screen
- Usual 6-buttons of favorite stations may be on screen, allowing to fast switch to favorite station

UI proposal:

Interesting app, but I disagree with a few of the things you think are "wrong" at the moment :

1) The functionality of MTC headunits is specifically designed so that you press the home button if you want the app to run in the background and press the back button to exit, this is easier when driving than the usual Android set up of having to get to running apps and swipe it away to close an app.
2) No on/off button really needed, see above, but some launchers have one in the widget.
3) Not sure what you mean about the volume cant be controlled when driving - the volume knob/buttons/SWC controls it when driving.

I like the new layout and integrating AM and FM is a good idea, but personally I hate the colour scheme, could easily be altered using apkeditor though.

It looks similar to realzhou's DAB app, it would actually be good if you made the interface look the same as that app, so they match.

A great idea for a radio app would be a combined AM/FM/DAB app that controls the AM/FM tuner and the usb DAB tuner from one app, but that would be a lot of work to do I think.
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4th October 2018, 10:33 PM |#11  
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Here is my propossal, it's quite complex but I think it would be a great improvement.

Maybe you know that some cars have a dual-tuner radio: one tuner for earing the radio station you like, second tuner for scanning radio stations in background.
In this way you have always a updated list of available stations, without depending on the location where you saved the radio presets, something like the example attached from a MB radio. It's very usefull if you travel very often and for long distances.

If we are able to get the radio stations frequencies and names by location (maybe zip code), it could be implemented in some way a "fake" second tuner in the way that available radio stations would be read from a DB depending on your GPS position. If your unit has 3g connection, it could also send information about the stations you tune-in and your gps position, feeding the central database of stations and locations.

Another possible solution would be a real second fm tuner connected by usb, scanning frequencies in background. I don't know how hard would it be to implement.

Regards.

P.D. Here you can search the radio stations prediction, including signal level, for a given location: https://fmscan.org. I tried with my current location and it's pretty accurrate.
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