31
Oct
bluetooth-logo

If you've never heard of the Bluetooth MAP profile, I don't blame you. Bluetooth profiles are super, super boring stuff. But stay with me here, because you may be more interested in MAP than you thought.

Do you own a car that is "Bluetooth-enabled"? If your car's model year is somewhere in the neighborhood of the last 3 to 4 years and supports Bluetooth, it probably uses the MAP standard to communicate with your phone. Ford Sync / MyFord Touch, BMW iDrive, and many Lexus models use it. And if you own an Android phone and a Bluetooth-ready car, you've probably noticed that they probably don't play very nicely together. While it's easy to blame this on car manufacturers being behind the times and only looking out for iPhone owners, that's not entirely true. You see, before the current Bluedroid Bluetooth firmware stack that's now a core part of the Android OS existed, phone OEMs were often left to fend for themselves when it came to advanced Bluetooth feature support, as Google only provided the basic BlueZ stack with Android. Some of them, like Motorola, even supported MAP. But when Bluedroid came along in Android 4.2, phone makers switched over, and the result was often a loss of features (see this Google Code thread, for example), including, for example, MAP.

Many devices never supported MAP at all, though, and as such, Android smartphones developed a pretty bad rap for in-car Bluetooth functionality, particularly when it came to things like voice commands. With Android 4.4, this changes - the Android Bluetooth stack now natively supports the MAP profile, which should mean expanded interoperability with in-car Bluetooth functions. MAP does have other uses, but its primary application to date has been in vehicles. Just another KitKat tidbit you might have glossed over!

Check out our Android 4.4 overview if you want to know more about the latest version of Google's mobile OS, and stay tuned for additional feature spotlight posts.

Android Developers

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • cabbiebot

    im drunk as **** on all these feature spotlights. BARTENDER, ANOTHER ROUND PLEASE! keep crankin em out!

  • MatthewDiluzio

    with my car handsfree system, you are supposed to be able to press a skip and repeat button for music but it only works as play/pause. Will this fix that?

    • Nicolo Orlando

      Probably not, MAP stands for Message Access Profile which I don't think relates to device control. I could be wrong though

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_profile#Message_Access_Profile_.28MAP.29

      • MatthewDiluzio

        Man....I hate not having that. ios devices work but I haven't found an android device that is fully functional

        • Pamela Hill

          I think it must vary among car manufacturers. My VW works great with Android 4.3. (N4) What kind of car do you have?

          • MatthewDiluzio

            Nissan versa with aftermarket audio

          • Pamela Hill

            Do you think it's because it's aftermarket?

          • MatthewDiluzio

            No...it just plugs into the aux port so I think it's more of an android thing considering iPhones work with it fully

          • Dan

            It is not the Ford Sync or others.. It is the Samsung S5 itself. I had a Nissan Frontier SV and the HTC Windows phone. With the HTC and the truck, every function worked - handsfree text and email replies via voice. As soon as I got the Samsung S5 only phone calls via voice would work - I lost the ability to respond to text msgs via voice :(

          • Dan

            I have the same issue now with my 2012 F150.

    • bakedpatato

      That's AVRCP 1.3 which was added in 4.3 but BT is a weird beast...

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock
        • MatthewDiluzio

          lets hope so....I have only tried on an s3 and nexus 4 both running 4.3. I would love for that to work

          • MatthewDiluzio

            If not, maybe an idea for a post showing various BT handsfree devices that FULLY work with android

        • bakedpatato

          We'll probably know more once 4.4 hits the repos but TBH like HDMI, BT stack implementations outside of the main stakeholders(ie: Nokia and Toshiba) aren't very good or interoperable with other stacks. Hopefully google can light a fire under broadcomm's rear to make their stack better...

  • clay

    still trying to figure out why my 2012 honda accord only supports bluetooth voice calling and not music streaming. never making that mistake again in a new car.

    • bozs13

      A2DP is a MUST for any car purchase my friend. I'm sorry bro, that sucks.

    • enoch861

      Haha, you're not alone sir.
      Us Audi owners got screwed over a few years ago with the same glaring defect. The stupid car only supported voice calling and omited A2DP. Pissed off so many people. On top of that they made it insanely expensive to get any sort of AUX inputs.

    • SupahNin10doh

      GROM Audio Bluetooth Kit bro, best thing to ever happen to my 03 BMW Z4!

      • JensenZ

        +1 on GROM Audio. I am using them for A2DP and Hands Free, both work perfectly! http://www.gromaudio.com/ I have 2006 Lexus.

    • Mike Harris

      The same thing happened to me when I bought a 2012 Audi S5. For the longest time, I thought maybe I was just stupid and couldn't figure out how to do it. (Admittedly, I spent so much time listening to the SiriusXM that I didn't really think about it too much.) When I finally read somewhere that it wasn't supported, I was really disappointed.

      When I got my 2013 Audi RS5, however, I was almost equally surprised to find out that just one model year later, it did support music streaming.

    • GMoGoody

      A2DP is normally not supported in the base model stereos. You need to pay for the better stereo package. I normally ask the salesman and then it takes 20 minutes for them to figure out what stereo packages support it.

    • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

      Don't feel bad, my 2013 Audi is in the same boat, it's on me for ASSuming that the $600 "Bluetooth package" in a new car from a company with a reputation for advanced technology would at least support the features that cars costing less than half as much did.

  • power_pizza

    Will this update make voice control better for people with aftermarket car stereos?

    I have a 2013 Sony aftermarket stereo installed in my car and the voice recognition is terrible. Google Now works okay if I scream at it but the voice keyboard can't hear me through the car's microphone.

    • NemaCystX

      +1 for the screaming part, it made me laugh because Moto X says "Its a little Noisy, can you please speak up?" lol

      I can picture it now, many android users with veins bulging out of there necks yelling at their phones to get Google Now to work, that is until KitKat comes lol

      • power_pizza

        I don't understand how I can speak slightly louder than normal during a phone call but have to scream at Google Now. Very frustrating!

    • Zevot

      There is a setting in Google Now to use the bluetooth mic.

  • Marcel Jeannin II

    Yes but will it finally talk to my Fitbit?

    • varun

      Seconded. I'm tired of having to carry around my iPod Touch just to get data uploaded. Not rocket science.

  • Stuart Anderson

    Perhaps you could mention what MAP stands for, or even what it does.

    • http://beaugil.es BeauGiles

      Easy.
      'Message Access Profile' - allows access to your SMS/MMS messages.

  • Booyabobby

    Currently my Moto X and Ford Sync play nicely with each other. When I start up the car, my phone automatically connects. With the Gnex, i would have to turn bluetooth off then back on for it to connect.

    • ShawnLaverty

      Do you ude motorola assist? If so when you are listening to the radio and a tex message come in will it read it to you using the car speakers?

      • Booyabobby

        No i don't use Moto Assist. I rarely get text messages when driving.

      • C Jackson

        As long as I was on bluetooth audio it would read my text messages (With a Moto X) and I could reply and send via voice.

  • NemaCystX

    I know on my Chevrolet Sonic with MyLink it lets me use Google Now remotely by holding down the voice command button like I would for SIRI hands free. Its a little glitchy though probably because its something Motorola added for Touchless Control on the Moto X

  • xnifex

    Does this mean it will now be able to read my text messages to me? That's about the only thing my Nexus 4 doesn't do with the My Ford Touch system at this point.

  • Florian

    I'm pretty pissed they included map but left out rSAP which is one of the most starred issues for Android. I loved my Nexus 4 and would love to buy a nexus 5. But since rSAP only works with some workaround-root-required-apps for those devices I stick to my S4.

  • thomas

    looking at the source it seems that they only support SMS/MMS for MAP and not email - thats sad...

  • Fellwalker

    But my 4 year old skoda uses the VW rSAP protocol. It has a long thread on the Google bugs site

  • jamaall

    THANK YOU GOOGLE!! And David... I have a mustang with Ford Sync and it worked fine with my Razr M (4.1) but my new Droid Maxx (4.2) wasn't working well with it, well now I know why. Hopefully they update my Maxx to 4.4 quickly, though my hopes may be too high with verizon lol

    • ShawnLaverty

      have you gotten it to work with ford sync? I have Moto x and Can make calls and listen to music but motorolla assist will not read the text through the car audio system

      • jamaall

        I dont use moto assist. But kit Kat actually made it worse. Sometimes, it won't let me skip songs now.

  • epsiblivion

    whenever I play music over bluetooth in the car, it only says "phone MP3" on the display. will there ever be support for metadata? my friend's iphone works fine. I am on 4.2.2 jelly bean.

    • ynksbsbll2

      Android 4.3+ supports AVRCP 1.3, so you'll get metadata

  • John

    Hi everybody, I have a HTC Sensation and the last software upgrade I did through a "phone call"( kind a code) I have not the # anymore, do you know something about ? Thanks ! John

  • Patbeppo

    Tried today to couple my Moto G on Kitkat 4.4.2 in combi with my brand new VW Golf Variant (biggest Navi option). Paired without problems. Seems to offer all Bluetooth profiles (rSAP) and for audio, internet.

  • tdse

    Interesting. While I had Jellybean, my car's BT connectivity was fully functional, including reading my text messages (Droid Razr Maxx HD/'14 Charger Uconnect system). Now, with an update to KitKat, messaging functionality is lost, and car indicates that phone is not supported. Nice 'upgrade'.

  • Scott from Newport News

    David -- I have a new LG G2 and am having problems getting Google Maps voice directions over bluetooth in my car. There seems to be a conflict of some sort between the use of bluetooth and GMaps because when I turn off bluetooth, voice directions pick back up out of the phone's speaker. (This is a well documented problem mentioned in threads all over the internet.) The bluetooth icons in the car show that both phone and media bluetooth connections are made with my phone. So the connection itself is not the issue. Any idea whether kit kat will resolve this? I'm with Verizon, so of course, I'll be among the last to get the KK update. I have until tomorrow to decide whether to keep this phone and this issue is a real problem as I use Maps regularly and need the voice commands. THANKS.

  • Jim Caserta

    I have 4.4.2 on my S5 and still does not work in my 2013Accord. Is it a later version? Any apps that override it and do work? Thank you

  • Jim Caserta

    I have 4.4.2 on my S5 but texting in my 2013 Accord still does not work. Is it a later version that perhaps Verizon has not released? Thank you!

  • Mike Frazer

    So frustrated. Just purchased a 2013 Lexus ES 350 with NAV. I own a Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Android 4.4.2). All integration works EXCEPT TEXT MESSAGING. Lexus says there's a known issue and they're working it out with Samsung. Finger pointing or fact?