Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tutorial: 2009 Acura TSX and Apple iPhone

The 2009 Acura TSX's technology package includes the navigation system (with XM traffic and weather), premium sound, USB port (iPod integration), aux audio port, and cellular phone integration (by bluetooth). According to Acura's handsfreelink site, TSX only supports a very limited features with the Apple iPhone. One of the most important features, phonebook import, is not supported according to the site.

However, it seems my TSX can import my 400+ contacts from my iPhone to the navigation system without any major problems (the import stops once it reaches to the contacts that use non-English characters). Since the Apple iPhone doesn't support contact transfer using bluetooth, I cannot send selected contacts to my TSX. Also, once you have imported the contacts from the iPhone contacts into the TSX cellular phonebook, you cannot modify/edit/delete individual contacts with the car phonebook. It is very inconvienent.

Setup the iPhone with the TSX is easy. Here is how you do it:
  1. Have your car key in position I or II.
  2. Push the phone call button on the steering wheel and say "Phone Setup"
  3. Push the phone call button and say "Pairing"
  4. Have your iPhone ready
  5. Make sure the bluetooth is on and in discovery mode (Settings | General | Bluetooth)
  6. Push the phone call button and say a 4 digit as the pairing code you need to enter to your iPhone
  7. A dialog will display on your iPhone. Enter the 4 digit code you just said to the car
  8. Done
The TSX has 2 phonebooks in real, one in the navigation system and one in the car. You can assign voice tag with the phone numbers that are stored in the car. In order to enter phone number into the car phonebook, you can use bluetooth contact transfer (not support by iPhone), voice, or import from the navigation phonebook.

Personally, I don't suggest you using voice to input the phone number. The voice recognition system (built by IBM) has no problem to recognize the numbers I said to it but it has difficulty to recognize the single word "ENTER" (you have to say it at the end of the phone number so the system can save it into memory). If you have other phone that support bluetooth contact transfer, you can use it to "beam" the phone number into the car phonebook.
  1. Push the call button on the steering whell and say "Phonebook"
  2. Push the call button and say "Transfer a contact"
  3. "Beam" the phone number using a non-iPhone phone via bluetooth
  4. The car will ask you to give a voice tag
  5. Push the call button and say the voice tag
  6. Push the call button and say "Yes" if the system accepts your voice tag. Sometimes, the system will reject your voice tag if it sounds too close to some other words.
  7. Done
You can also transfer the phone number from the navigation system's phonebook after you import the contacts from your iPhone.
  1. Push the Info button on the dashboard
  2. Use the dial to select Cellular Phonebook
  3. Use the dial to select Import Phonebook
  4. Make sure your iPhone has enough battery if you have a huge contact list (like mine). I have 400+ contacts and it takes about 10-15 minutes to finish the import
  5. After the contacts are import into the system. You can use the dial to select Search Phonebook
  6. Pick the phonebook you just import or any other phonebook you have import previously. Totally, you can import 6 phonebooks
  7. Use the dial and virtual keyboard (or voice) to locate your contact and phone number
  8. Push the dial to right so you can import the selected number into the car's phonebook
  9. Push the call button on the steering wheel and give the selected number a voice tag
  10. Push the call button and say "Yes" if the system accepts your voice tag
  11. Repeat #7 if needed
  12. Done
(07/22/2008 Update: Importing the contact list into the navigation system doesn't work anymore after I upgraded my iPhone to 2.0. I suspect it will be the same for the iPhone 3G as well.)

(07/25/2008 Update: I tried to use my Mac to send vcard via OBEX to the car. It seems not working at all. Acura is not implementing the correct OBEX for vcard transfer or the OBEX in Acura is old version. The make the problem even interesting, my car discovered my iPhone 2.0 after I played with it for 30 minutes and it downloaded the phonebook from my phone. OK, I am totally lost about how the whole thing connect together.)

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