Google Pixel XL

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  • Problem
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Not a Problem
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I have used my Automatic Gen 2 dongle since July with my Google/Huawei Nexus 6p (mostly) without issue. I never had any issue with playing music while being connected to my Automatic dongle. Last week I received my new phone, a Google Pixel XL which has Android 7.1 on it. Since receiving my new phone, my music constantly skips when playing over Bluetooth. I have tried the phone in different locations in my car (on the seat, in the cup holder, mounted on the dash, etc) and none make the Bluetooth reception any better.

I have also tried adding and removing Bluetooth connections one at a time to see if any of them are causing an issue. When my Automatic dongle is not connected, the music seems to play flawlessly during my commute. I have noticed this when I manually remove the Automatic app from my phone and also when the dongle fails to connect when I enter my vehicle, which is quite often compared to my old phone. Opening the Automatic app and tapping the user icon silhouette and pressing Connection Troubleshooting and then Retry Connection fails to connect to my dongle in my car. I know all data is saved for 8 hours of driving and will log the next time I drive (if it connects..), but it is still frustrating.

I am curious if there were any changes to Bluetooth or other system properties in Android 7.1 that could be causing this issue, and if there is any plan to update the Automatic Classic Android app.

I know the Google Pixel phone is still very new (officially released 11 days ago), as is Android 7.1, so I understand if testing will take time to correct any issues. If there is anything I can do to assist with the troubleshooting or testing process with my new device, please have the developers or engineers contact me as I'd be more than happy to help enhance the experience for other Automatic users as well. While I do love my Automatic adapter and app features, if the issues won't be addressed in favor of the newer Automatic Lite or Pro adapters and/or apps, it may have to be retired.
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Rob Monroe

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Posted 2 years ago

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estmatic

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I wondered if the Automatic adapter would have this problem. I've been thinking about getting a Pixel XL but saw a lot of similar posts about Bluetooth connectivity issues on Google's forums. I think those were mostly about the Pixels having trouble connecting/staying connected to cars' built-in bluetooth.

Maybe there's something Automatic can do on their end. My guess, though, is that this is more of a Pixel and/or Android 7.1 issue. Hopefully Google is working on this.

P.S. How's the phone otherwise? I'm happy with my current phone but it's stuck on 5.0.1, so the Pixel has been really tempting me
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Rob Monroe

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Overall, I love it. I got my first taste of Nexus devices with the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet. Eventually I moved to the Nexus 6 for my phone, followed by the Nexus 6p and now the Pixel XL. It's a really solid and well rounded device. The battery life is INSANE. I took it off the charger at 6am and I'm still at 62% here at 3pm (2h SOT and Spotify streaming for the last 3 hours or so). If you have any specific questions about it, let me know. I haven't taken a ton of photos with it yet, but the ones I have snapped look really good for a phone, in my opinion.

I have also read about issues with Bluetooth pairing, but I haven't had an issues with paring, necessarily. I use a total of four Bluetooth devices on a regular basis. Automatic Gen 2, GM stock radio in my car (phone calls only), Bluetooth A2DP dongle into the AUX in on my GM radio (for music) and a Fitbit One. The Fitbit doesn't actually "pair" with my phone in the traditional sense, but the Fitbit app connects to it to fetch data periodically over BT.

I certainly had times with my Nexus 6p where the Automatic Gen 2 wouldn't connect when I hopped in the car, but it was almost always solved by just tapping the retry connection button. If it was a short trip, I'd just leave it and it would work on the next start. The only other issue I experienced was if I got a phone call while connected to my car radio (phone calls), A2DP (music) AND Automatic, the car radio connection would drop during a call from time to time. I always chalked this up to the BT being overloaded with devices and it wasn't a big deal (I hardly ever talk on the phone, let alone in the car).

With my Pixel XL, the Automatic fails to connect more than it actually connects. It pairs fine, but connecting, and maybe more frustrating reconnecting doesn't work. My A2DP dongle paired and connects perfectly, but when it is streaming music, it gets very jittery with Automatic paired. I understand that there is a stream of data going back and forth between the phone and the dongle while connected, so it could be hogging bandwidth, but it didn't seem to be an issue on my 6p. I don't know what the differences in the BT hardware/software are between the two.

There was an update to the Pixel/XL relatively quickly after launch that addressed connection issues and I think it was specifically aimed at wifi, but it might have had something to do with BT as well. There should be a new security patch this week or next week, so they might bake something else into that too.

I haven't noticed the Pixel dropping any connections, and the Automatic dongle is the only thing that has issues connecting on a regular basis. I may have to experiment with having another device in my car to pair with the Automatic for the time being so that I can pair with that and submit data either over wifi when I park at home or hotspot from my phone.

If I pair a device and tuck it away discreetly, does that device need an active internet connection at all times to sync with Automatic or could it long stuff in the paired device and upload when it receives a signal? I could use Tasker to turn on hotspot while I'm in the car, but would prefer to just have it connect to my home or work wifi when I'm near there, if possible. It would be a very hacky solution, but if it means I can actually listen to my music, it might be what I do for the time being.
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Amy

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Hey Rob (and estmatic), apologies for not replying sooner but I've been waiting on internal information about this. We've got a Pixel arriving later this week so that we can attempt to replicate the issue and dig into it.
(Edited)
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Rob Monroe

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Thanks Amy! I got a reply from someone on Twitter saying about the same thing, too. Not sure if that's you or not.

There was an update to the Pixel today, and it did list updates to messaging over Bluetooth. Not sure if that will positively or negatively impact the issues I've been having, but I hope it fixes it! I'll report back tomorrow.

I am using a Pixel XL (the two devices are functionally identical, just the screen and battery are different) on build NDE63X (released today, 11/7).
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Amy

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Ok, thanks, Rob.

Yeah, it's me on Twitter a lot lately (shhh ;).
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Rob Monroe

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Well today I drove to work (about 40 minutes) after applying the newest Pixel/XL update last night and Bluetooth seemed to work flawlessly with both Automatic and my music connected. I will let it go for another day or two before concluding that it's fixed by the update (I have had a few trips where things worked well with both connected before this update, albeit very infrequently).

Thanks!
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Amy

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That's promising!
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Rob Monroe

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Ok, so after two days of driving with the new update in place, I think I am happy with the results. I pulled some video from my dash cam to help show the difference, which may or may not be helpful in your testing, if that is still happening.

Volume/language warning on the videos :)

Here is some video from Monday on my drive to work. It's a raw clip from the dash cam, sorry it's kind of long. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2ioTTvGH73GX01sOTlGLWlKcUE Specifically, around 25-45 seconds you can here repeated skips/lags in the music. This is what it was doing basically non-stop at some points while streaming. To the point that it's not even worth listening to.

Now here is a clip from this morning (after having applied the patch to my phone on Monday night): https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2ioTTvGH73GN1pEZEt3cElqbDg Again, a raw clip, but no skips!

I have heard a few very minor blips here and there, but I'd say it's less than one per song. Hard to say if that's because of the BT issues or not, but I will take that over what it was doing before.

Note: you might hear a clicking or buzzing on the audio.. that's not the skipping issues. That's something rattling in/on/around the dash cam or the mount that I haven't really taken the time to investigate yet.

I hope that if there is anything else the Automatic team can do to help improve this once they get their Pixel in hand, it will only improve more. But until then, I am very happy with the changes that Google made, whatever they were, as it seems to be much better.
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Amy

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Thanks much, Rob. I'll share this with the QA engineers. And noted on the volume/language warning. :)
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Ed

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I have a problem with my Bluetooth also on a new Pixel XL that I bought last night.

I can connect manually but it will not automatically connect the next time I start the car.

I cleared all pairings out of the phone and my car, paired them again and I still have the same problem.

Any ideas?

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Rob Monroe

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I haven't had any issues with my Pixel XL connecting to my Automatic dongle. I have the Gen 2.

What build are you running on your Pixel? If you haven't received any system updates yet, I know one was released within a day or two of launch (back around 10/21-22) that had some fixes for wireless connectivity, and the update from Monday also contained some fixes for Bluetooth (as described in the rest of this thread).
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Ed

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I have Android version 7.1 Build  NDE63X
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Rob Monroe

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Interesting. I have the same build, that's the one that came out on Monday. Did you fully remove the Automatic app and reinstall then setup the dongle where you enter the code and turn the key, etc? I have done that a few times since my Pixel arrived but I have never had any issues with it simply not connecting.

Do you use a case?
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Ed

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Yes.  I cleared all pairings out of the car and the phone just to be sure nothing was interfering.  I then had the card searching for device, had the phone search and connected using the code the car gave me.  Whenever, I go to settings > Bluetooth, I see the paired device (My Car).  I can tap on it and tell it to connect.  This always works.  But if I turn off car and restart it, the 2 will not connect until I go back thru settings in the phone and manually connect by tapping on MY CAR (paired device)


(Edited)
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Ed

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I opened a chat session with Google and am waiting for an email with further troubleshooting instructions.  I do not have a case number.
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Amy

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Hi Ed. Any word from Google on this?
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I called in again after researching more on the internet as well as with Chevrolet.  Google agrees that there is a known bug and they are working on it.  They are saying they need to interface to the vehicle manufacturer to get the correct codes. I would think that if earlier versions of the operating system worked perfectly, that they already have the codes.  I do not understand why this is not a quick fix.  It is a serious issue for anyone that drives a car.
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Amy

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Interesting. Thanks for that info, Ed. I'll share with the engineers here. 
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Rob Monroe

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Ok, so I wanted to chime in one last time on this after some more anecdotal testing over the weekend. On Friday night I was driving home from work and the music was skipping just as bad or worse than before. On Saturday I was going to run to the store and happened to check to see how long it had been since I had rebooted my phone. It was just over 120 hours (5 days), meaning it hadn't been rebooted since I applied the update mentioned in my second post on this thread. I rebooted the phone just to see what happened. In the past I've made it a habit to reboot about once a week (although with some phones it was almost a necessity), but the Pixel doesn't seem to require it as often.

When I was driving around on Saturday the music again played flawlessly. I used my phone a lot this weekend, installed and uninstalled a few apps, so as I was getting my jacket on and tying my shoes this morning, I rebooted again before driving to work. Once again, flawless.

I am not sure if there could be some sort of memory leak in the phone, or something more specific to Bluetooth, but it seemed that rebooting is the key to having it all work well. I had speculated earlier that there might be some significance to the order in which my BT devices connect, but that seems to be irrelevant.

I guess I will just make it a point to reboot the phone every few days to see if I can find the sweet spot until Google fixes whatever might be causing the issue. I also look forward to what the Automatic engineers find out as they are probably a little more equipped than myself. :) 
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Amy

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Thanks, Rob. Your troubleshooting and reports are super helpful!
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Unfortunately, we have been unable to reproduce the issues on our new office Pixel. However, we have a San Francisco-based customer with a Pixel phone who is also experiencing some issues coming into the office later this week. We'll update you when we know more!
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Amy

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So I'd misunderstood was his issue was. He was unable to get setup with Automatic and his Google Pixel phone. We managed to figure out troubleshooting steps with him that resolved that issue. 

The audio issues may not be easily solvable on our side at this point. 
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Steve Link

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Amy: May I make the suggestion that someone within the department that should be researching this frustrating problem take a field trip to several new car dealerships to quietly test out the pairing for themselves.  Surely they could reproduce the problem.  I didn't have to try to get the thing not to work on my brand new 2016 Honda Pilot AND my brand new Pixel XL.  I'd really like to get the Bluetooth working.
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Amy

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Thanks, Steve. We own several test cars and have been unable to reproduce. We have a customer visiting our office tomorrow who has run into this so that's our next step. 
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Steve Link

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Hi Amy,

I must apologize for a couple of things: After the fact of exchanging this information with you, I could not find the thread simply because I forgot which forum it was in. Second, as a result of my lapse of memory I could not remember your name either which resulted in me referring to you without knowing your name (at the time).  Because I could not remember these things I posted this on the forum below but I really wanted you to see it since I explain in more detail exactly what is going on in my case.  Thank you for your understanding.

Steve Link via Pixel User Community <phone-by-google+APn2wQegAFn6gowVTH6M3...>10:23 PM (13 hours ago)
to Pixel

Hi Orrin,

During the same week at the end of October, I acquired a Pixel XL and we traded my wife's 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour for a 2016 Honda Pilot.  I went through the prescribed process to add my Pixel XL to the Pilot's Bluetooth.  It appears to have added the phone with a little bit of a messy transfer of contacts but otherwise behaved as you would expect until.... you try to make a phone call.  When I voice dial, for example, the screen appears to be connecting, the Hang Up icon appears on the screen but, if it does dial (I can't tell if it has or not), it disconnects immediately.  

My wife always had a great Bluetooth experience in the Crosstour with her Samsung Galaxy IV so I thought I'd give that phone a try in the Pilot.  That Galaxy IV pairs well with the Bluetooth in the Honda Pilot including the transfer of contacts, speed-dials, etc. and I have made numerous phone calls with no problems.  I went back to the Pixel and I can't even complete a single call.  I had to go to the Honda dealer today about something else and they remembered me from being in their shop last week to complain about the Bluetooth.  I had promised them then that I would keep them informed if I learned anything.  They said they have had a few other people complain about similar problems that I’m having since I had been in their shop last week.

I cannot find the name of the individual from Google (they were a vice president) that told me today that Google has a fleet of cars for testing things like this and they have not been able to reproduce the problem a single time.  I suggested that Google send a task force out to new car dealers to use a few of their cars that have never been connected to any Bluetooth before as test subjects using the Pixel XL product.  I’m guessing they will find issues.

With withering patience, Steve Link
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Amy

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Hi Steve. Thanks for the note. No worries on forgetting my name. I think, though, that you referred to me as a VP at Google. I work at Automatic Labs, the company that manufactures the Automatic adapter. 
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Amy

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Hi All-

Has anyone in this thread has issues with Automatic Setup on Google Pixel or just audio interference issues? 
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Rob Monroe

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I have had zero setup issues, just skipping with the audio. I knew when I started this thread that it was likely in Google's hands, not yours but wanted to start here because asking Google for help is kind of like talking to a brick wall :)
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Amy

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Ha, yeah, I hear you. And we, of course, want to do what we can to help. Unfortunately, though, there may not be much we can do. The fact that Ed made some headway with Google and got them to admit that there is a known issue with BT & the Pixel, is progress and far better than we could ever hope for with Apple and the many Bluetooth issues they create with every release of their iOS. ;)
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Shannon McAllister

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I also have a 2016 Honda Pilot and a Pixel XL.  My old phone (Samsung) and my husbands droid both pair perfectly.  My pixel XL also appears to pair but I can not call nor receive calls/messages through my car.  Extremely frustrating and I may return the phone.
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Amy

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Sorry to hear that, Shannon!
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Amy

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Hi Folks. Any updates on how things are going with your Pixel phones & Automatic? 
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Rob Monroe

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I actually have been without my car since 12/8 due to an accident (dash cam video if you're interested https://www.instagram.com/p/BNwtCIOA1pO/) but I was still having the same types of issues with skipping if my phone hadn't been rebooted recently.

I have been keeping up with the monthly security patches (some of which have claimed to have fixes for the radios (may or may not specifically include BT)), but no real movement yet. I am using a rental car right now but it doesn't have Bluetooth, only AUX. At this point I believe it to be an issue with the whole BT stack, not necessarily related to Automatic as rebooting fixes the issues for me, at least.
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Wow, that was terrifying to watch. Looks like the car on your left just merged right into you as you were getting on the freeway. I'm glad you're ok. That could've been so much worse. Sorry about the car! I hope you're able to get a new one covered by insurance soon. 

Thanks for the update, Rob. 
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Rob Monroe

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Yeah, she merged into my lane and I actually avoided her, but could only move over so far due to the cement barriers on the right shoulder. I lost control and spun out (a few times) but managed to avoid hitting everyone and everything on the road, until I came to a stop facing perpendicular to traffic and she t-boned the passenger side of my car (https://www.instagram.com/p/BNwuAVwgvFE/) I was the only occupant and airbags didn't go off, the rear door took most of it.

Her insurance is covering my deductible and when I last spoke to Progressive on Friday 12/9 when they quoted the repair costs, it wasn't totaled out. Hoping to have it back tomorrow.
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Amy

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Phew! Well you handled that spin-out really well. 
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Ed

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The new patch from Google (7.1.1) fixed the Bluetooth issue for my 2013 Chevy Tahoe.
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Amy

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Wonderful! Really glad to hear that, Ed. Thanks for updating!

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