Connecting your Android smartphone to your car radio is useful for more than just listening to music. Phone calls, voicemails, and even text-to-voice SMS messages are just a few of the things you can play over your stereo with the right equipment. Depending on your needs, as well as your current setup, playing your phone through your radio could cost you nothing -- or all the way up to $80 or $90.
If you drive a newer car (or have a newer stereo system) you may be able to sync your phone via Bluetooth. If so, the process for connecting is just like pairing with a headset: pull the bar at the top of the screen down by dragging your thumb down the screen, select Bluetooth, and make the phone visible. From there, follow your car's connection instructions. After initial pairing, your phone should connect whenever you get in range.
If your car has a small input port labelled "Aux," "Auxiliary" or something similar -- and you don't mind an extra wire -- a cable will be the fastest and least expensive solution to your problem. Auxiliary cables, commonly found at electronics stores like Best Buy or RadioShack, have 3.5mm male connections on both ends, allowing you to plug straight in to your stereo. As a bonus, most Android phones will detect an auxiliary connection and put your phone in speakerphone mode when in a call.
Though they're often the most expensive solution, FM transmitters are perhaps the most efficient way to tune in to your car radio if you don't have Bluetooth/USB capabilities or an auxiliary port. Many, like Jabra's Cruiser line, Motorola's Motorokr line and Griffin's iTrip line come with built-in speakers and microphones so you can take calls through the device or the radio. Others work as standalone radio devices, but, at the same cost as a car kit, may not make as much sense for the money.
A USB jack isn't yet a common feature in cars, but if your ride has one, it very well could be your cheapest and fastest solution. To find out if your car's USB connection supports Android phones, plug your phone in via a charging cable and follow the onscreen prompts. If everything syncs up, the car should play music (as well as call audio) through your speakers. It adds an extra cable to the mix, but it's also inexpensive and fast.
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