All my mobile devices come from the Apple ecosystem so I have limited to no experience with Android from a user perspective. I wanted navigation that works well on the Karoo for an upcoming tour we’re doing that will require good mapping and the ability to manage it entirely from mobile devices. I wanted to use the Karoo since it’s just a better display. To do that, here is what I did:
- Download the Android debug bridge (adb hereafter) for the mac here: https://developer.android.com/studio/re ... form-tools and install it on your system.
- On your Mac, open the Terminal application which is found in your utilities folder.
- Go to the folder in which the adb was installed. For simplicity, just do everything here from folder. You can get more creative and set up shell environment variables for your particular system. But here, I’ll just refer to the app in this folder and any downloaded apps you have from your download folder.
- Connect the Karoo to your computer with a USB cable that has full connections. Many USB cables are only useful for charging. If you cannot connect in later steps, make sure to try other cables. If that doesn’t work, then install the Google USB drivers from the link above in step #2.
- Boot up the Karoo.
- Go to the Settings app and scroll down to “About”. Scroll all the way to the bottom until you find “Build Number”. Tap on this 7 times with your finger. This will take you to “Developer Mode” and Karoo will tell you that this is where you are headed after about the first three taps.
- Once in Developer Mode, in Settings, scroll down to the "Developer Options" choice and tap it. Once in that choice, make sure that the "Developer Options" switch at the very top is "on.".
- Scroll down to "USB Debugging" option and turn that switch on. This enables your mac (or your PC for that matter) to talk to the Karoo over the USB cable.
- Once you are in developer mode and have completed these steps, go back to your Mac.
- On your Mac, invoke the adb in the terminal by typing “./adb devices” (yellow arrow). This will ask for the android devices attached to your computer. See: https://www.dropbox.com/s/a3ozdi78in5w4 ... 1.jpg?dl=0
- The red arrow shows that the Karoo is attached to your Mac where the string in front of the word “device” is the identifier for your Karoo.
- Download APKpure which is a source for Android app store software from https://apkpure.com.
- Install APKpure onto your Karoo by locating the apkpure package which you just downloaded onto your Karoo. To do this you type “./adb install <filename of apkpure package>. It should look something like this (https://www.dropbox.com/s/df4pkh46oz0d1 ... 2.jpg?dl=0):
- the second line is the adb transferring the file to your Karoo.
- the third line is the name of the file and where it is located on your Karoo in the Android file system.
- The third line with the word “Success” means that you successfully transferred it to the Karoo.
- Once you have apkpure NovaLauncher loaded on your Karoo, go ahead and reboot. As the Karoo reboots, it should give you the option to select the launcher. You should have the option to run the launcher always or just once. Until you get it all set up the way you want, probably just select “Just once” but select “Nova Launcher”. Just plain “Launcher” is the Hammerhead launcher that gives you the familiar Karoo startup screen.
- Use the Nova Launcher to create a widget for the Hammerhead Launcher. To do this, go to the Nova Launcher screen, find a blank spot and press. Select “Widgets” at the bottom. Like this (https://www.dropbox.com/s/48zazc13b3rks ... 4.jpg?dl=0) and (https://www.dropbox.com/s/bmdzq93fwq5mh ... 5.jpg?dl=0):
- This will give you a menu. Select the Novalauncher icon with “Activities” underneath. This will bring up a list of possible widgets. Scroll down until you find the Hammerhead logo with “Launcher” next to it (https://www.dropbox.com/s/3coj0a3e20evq ... 6.jpg?dl=0).
- Your screen will now look like this (https://www.dropbox.com/s/oluka6eph4pxt ... 7.jpg?dl=0):
- To run the Karoo software, select the Hammerhead logo from your home screen that will look like this (https://www.dropbox.com/s/vpvqv9y9ike19 ... 8.jpg?dl=0):
- From NovaLauncher, run APKpure app. In there, search for “Switchr” - an app switcher. You can read about this separately, but it gives you a great way to quickly switch between apps you may want to use on your Karoo.
Apps I have on my Karoo that make it a great cycling experience
- Switchr - an app that allows you to quickly switch between any app you’ve loaded and the Karoo software while riding.
- SoundWave or PodCast Player: listen to podcasts while you ride.
- Dropbox: Allows me to download files into various apps using my dropbox account.
- Osmand: Open source and free navigation program including audio turn by turn directions. You can download waypoints and gpx files into this for routes through dropbox. Works very well. (http://osmand.net)
- Radarscope: Color weather radar up to date within 1-2 minutes. I can see precipitation and how it impacts my ride. To do this, you will either need an installed SIM card (haven't tested) or set up your cell phone as a wifi hotspot and make sure Karoo is connected to it while you ride. This is a paid app but excellent.
- MyRadar: Another weather radar app but free.
- Bluetooth Audio Widget Free - as of the 188.8.131.52 update on 30 August 2018, the Karoo video app was removed and with it the ability to pair and manage bluetooth headsets or speakers. Adding this app (or one similar) replaces that functionality and is an actual substantial improvement over the video app. This is available on the Amazon app store.
What I do now is I create folders of my GPX files on Dropbox and just open them as I see fit for the given set of routes I'd like to use. Clicking on them drives them into Osmand/Osmand+ and everything is ready to go.
You can pair headphones and bluetooth speakers to the Karoo by going to the Karoo “Video” app and pairing the headphones there. Once you do this, you will be able to listen to podcasts, get spoken turn by turn directions etc… on the Karoo. I have also paired this very nice and inexpensive BT speaker to my Karoo. This speaker is tiny and has an excellent clip so it will clip to my jersey. It's about $15 on sale and gives excellent sound and is perfect for turn by turn audio navigation cues. I would love to see Hammerhead set up with audio cues for their device in general through bluetooth. This sort of product would be awesome. https://www.polkaudio.com/products/boombit
Bluetooth Audio - From system update 184.108.40.206 which was made available on 30 August 2018, Hammerhead has removed the Video app. This is where you paired your bluetooth devices in the past. In order to manage, pair and use your bluetooth audio devices you will need to side load one of the many Bluetooth Audio apps available for free on many of the Android app stores. I use the “Bluetooth Audio Widget free” that is available for free on the Amazon app store. When you start this app, you can pair devices, select the bluetooth audio profile to use for them, adjust the volume boost etc... It’s a big improvement over the video app for managing bluetooth and an overall improvement.