Rooting The Asteroid Smart For Maximum Potential
It'd be hard to go through all of that effort to test an Android-based device and not explore its full potential by rooting it. Subjecting the Asteroid Smart to this treatment is a simple matter of side-loading and running the framaroot app (available on XDA-Developers). Then the fun truly begins...
The Google Play store is very easy to get running on the Asteroid Smart, and you can add it using the instructions that apply to Amazon's Kindle Fire HD (also on XDA-Developers). Once we installed Google Play, we downloaded Gmail, Talkatone, Skype, Torque Pro, and several other Gingerbread-compatible apps. Some of them had orientation issues, but we worked around those by downloading another app able to lock the display into landscape mode.
Skype runs on the Asteroid Smart, and we were able to make calls from our mobile platform through any available Internet connection. Unfortunately, the app is terribly slow. It takes a long time to start up, log in, and even navigate. We can’t fault Parrot or TI for this; the app is a dog even on modern smartphones.
We had much better luck with Talkatone, which works great for making calls from inside the car using the bundled stereo mic and factory speakers. Making calls independent of a phone is novel. The idea is even cooler executed from a head unit.
Torque Pro on its own is a great reason to have an Asteroid Smart installed. Earlier versions of the head unit's operating system refused to function with any Bluetooth device that had a pairing code other than 0000. Luckily, Parrot pays attention to customer requests and added the ability to enter your own pairing code.
Unfortunately, the Bluetooth-attached OBD-II adapter we were using had issues connecting. It would pair, but then couldn't connect, precluding us from testing its functionality. For its part, Torque Pro installed, launched, and was configurable. It's just not very useful unless you have an operational OBD-II adapter.
We managed to install Google Maps as well, which required the use of a Market Helper app to spoof the device. With an available Internet connection, Google Maps is a great alternative to iGo Primo navigation, especially since it reports traffic data.
Don't get too carried away trying to load the Asteroid Smart with a ton of apps, though. There is only 1 GB of on-board storage. Parrot doesn’t incorporate native Apps2SD support either, and it’s very easy to fill up that limited capacity.