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MMI - crap?

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Old 08-13-2014, 11:25 PM   #1
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Default MMI - crap?

i have some issues with the MMI, and I'm wondering if anyone else is as infuriated as I am?

The jukebox will only hold 3000 songs, even though the hard drive is not full. Voice control will only work with the Jukebox. If an iPod is connected, there is no global shuffle, only album shuffle ( which is not available on the Jukebox ) which makes it completely useless to me. If you're lucky random play will stay on after you select it, if you're lucky.

No global commands - you have to select telephone to make a call. And when you do, if your contact has multiple numbers, the MMI won't show you the descriptors - you get to guess which one is the right number.

The voice recognition is sketchy and the "computer" voice is horrible, my GTi sounded much better. Sometimes my A4 tells me the "voice commands cannot be accepted at this time".

There is often a several minute delay for the music to even begin after the car is started.

I am extremely disappointed in the ****-poor programming of this system in a $40K+ car. These are faults I had no idea i even needed to check for in a car of thos "quality". I just leased my A4 in March and I am going to get rid of it at the end of the month.
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Old 08-14-2014, 04:43 AM   #2
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You don't say what year A4 you have. there have been two MMI iterations since the MY2009 A4. If you have a MY2013+, you have many more options than you describe, particularly with voice control.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:34 AM   #3
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It sounds like these things are important to you and you are really disappointed. A good reminder for folks to check out things of importance before buying or leasing.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:38 AM   #4
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Since you are leasing your car, I assume it's a current model. Frankly, overall the MMI is pretty good for a factory system, but you have to actually read the manual if you are not already familiar with it. It could be more intuitive, I give you that.

I can't speak to the jukebox. Never used it and I don't have an iPod hooked up to it. I stream music from my phone over Bluetooth from apps like Pandora etc. The phone does everything.

Global commands - well, obviously you didn't read the user manual. There are several global commands and calling one of your contacts is one of them. I never have to select telephone first before I can call somebody.

Multiple numbers - there are icons next to the number to indicate which one is mobile, home, business, fax. Granted not the best as the icons are not as easy to recognize as text. However you should really use the proper voice command so it knows which number you wanna call. For example to call somebody's cell say: Call John Smith cell or Call John Smith private to call them at home or call Call John Smith business to call them at work.

Voice recognition - frankly, it's pretty good for an in car system. It handles background noise very well, although I have the B&O system which deals better with background noise. This is coming from somebody for whom English is a second language. It even deals well with all the foreign names in my contacts. Again if you'd read the user manual you would know that there is a feature to train it to your voice. Makes a big difference.

Computer voice - yes, I give you that. It sounds too synthetic, but I've gotten used to it.

Just a few pointers. Maybe you'll give it another chance.
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Last edited by superswiss; 08-14-2014 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 08-14-2014, 09:14 AM   #5
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Quick follow up. With a bit of Googling you can find the following older list of voice commands. The newest system has additional commands, but unfortunately the documentation in the user manual is a bit thin. These commands all still work, but many are not listed in the user manual. They do add quite a bit to the enjoyment of the system.

Audi MMI 3G Voice Recognition Commands - The Audi Guy
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:26 AM   #6
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I recently picked up a 2014 A4, and while I can see my phone numbers in the MMI, if I attempt to use the voice commands, it says phone book is empty. Huh? Anybody have this problem and figure out what's going on here?
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTopBloke View Post
I recently picked up a 2014 A4, and while I can see my phone numbers in the MMI, if I attempt to use the voice commands, it says phone book is empty. Huh? Anybody have this problem and figure out what's going on here?
Are you saying that you can search and scroll through your contacts via the MMI buttons but the voice command to bring up the phone book comes up empty?

If you can bring up an entry with the MMI controls there is a command to have the system read out the name of the entry. Check if that works.

If you don't see both names and numbers using the MMI buttons, you can start by checking what Audi states about compatibility with your phone here:
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmataya View Post
...If an iPod is connected, there is no global shuffle, only album shuffle.. If you're lucky random play will stay on after you select it, if you're lucky.
..
There is often a several minute delay for the music to even begin after the car is started.
1) I have noticed the same limitation in random play from SD cards. (It is also stated in the user guide that only juke box and CD player supports global random play.) I have enough room in my SD-cards so I use a work-around in that I put my music, as I like, in folders (type or album etc) but also put a copy of all the files in a common folder "all" (quickly done with windows). I then use this folder for random play between all titles.

2) Random play is remembered correctly from SD-cards. I have to activate in again only if I change media source.

3) Music playback from SD-cards starts quickly after engine ON (or inserted key). Maybe 5-10 seconds? There is more of a delay until I can use voice commands because it starts loading the navigator and reading the contacts from my phone. But not many minutes, perhaps one or two with about 600 contacts.
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Old 08-16-2014, 02:10 PM   #9
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I will check on these suggestions, nonetheless i'm still infuriated at the arbitrary 3000 song limit on the jukebox. I traded in my 2011 GTi and assumed this infotainment system would be an improvement, but its really not.
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by superswiss View Post
Global commands - well, obviously you didn't read the user manual. There are several global commands and calling one of your contacts is one of them. I never have to select telephone first before I can call somebody.
I agree here, but...
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Multiple numbers - there are icons next to the number to indicate which one is mobile, home, business, fax. Granted not the best as the icons are not as easy to recognize as text. However you should really use the proper voice command so it knows which number you wanna call. For example to call somebody's cell say: Call John Smith cell.
I have to give it to the OP here. I have the same issue. My partner has several different emails, and a few different phone numbers. They are all loaded in my phone under one contact, but the car wants to break them out. I say "call John Smith cell", and the car says "please choose a line number", and it shows seven different options, all with his name, and all with the mobile phone icon. There's no way to differentiate them, and to make matters worse, it doesn't put them in the same order every time (so I can't learn and remember that the one I want happens to be the 4th option). So I say "Line #1", and then it proceeds to try to "call" an email address, then informs me that it can't do that. It's ridiculous. I got a Galaxy Gear watch, so now if I'm trying to call someone who has multiple addresses, I use it to initiate the call. It's not as seamless as using the car: I have to first mute the stereo so I can hear the weak speaker in the watch and so it can understand what I'm saying. The car's speakerphone doesn't intercept the call until after the first ring, so it seems kludgy. But at least I can make the call that way.
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:10 PM   #11
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Default MMI

OK, i stand corrected, there is a global call command - chalk it up to the poor voice recognition that I had not been able to get it to work before. In regards to the phone book issue, as the previous comment indicated, the icons are useless - they're all "cell phones". All the other issues still stand.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscline View Post
I agree here, but...

I have to give it to the OP here. I have the same issue. My partner has several different emails, and a few different phone numbers. They are all loaded in my phone under one contact, but the car wants to break them out. I say "call John Smith cell", and the car says "please choose a line number", and it shows seven different options, all with his name, and all with the mobile phone icon. There's no way to differentiate them, and to make matters worse, it doesn't put them in the same order every time (so I can't learn and remember that the one I want happens to be the 4th option). So I say "Line #1", and then it proceeds to try to "call" an email address, then informs me that it can't do that. It's ridiculous. I got a Galaxy Gear watch, so now if I'm trying to call someone who has multiple addresses, I use it to initiate the call. It's not as seamless as using the car: I have to first mute the stereo so I can hear the weak speaker in the watch and so it can understand what I'm saying. The car's speakerphone doesn't intercept the call until after the first ring, so it seems kludgy. But at least I can make the call that way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmataya View Post
OK, i stand corrected, there is a global call command - chalk it up to the poor voice recognition that I had not been able to get it to work before. In regards to the phone book issue, as the previous comment indicated, the icons are useless - they're all "cell phones". All the other issues still stand.
If everything shows up as a cell phone in the MMI, then your respective phones are not properly categorizing the phone numbers when syncing the contacts over Bluetooth and it wouldn't help if the MMI used a text description instead of an icon. It would all just say cell. I get different icons for home, work, cell and fax and it's dialing the right one. The contact addresses are also properly categorized as home or business, so that I can say "Navigate to John Smith private/business" and the navi is plotting a route to the correct address.

Sounds like both of you are using Android phones. Android has numerous Bluetooth issues and a big issue is Google Contacts itself. Android has pretty much the worst Bluetooth stack of any mobile platform and it doesn't look like Google has any interest in fixing it.

As for Google Contacts being part of the problem, I migrated off of it a long time ago, because I had issues with non-Android devices not being able to properly parse out the contact data. For example, I had issues with the entire address being put all into address line 1 instead of being broken out into address, city, state and zip and every phone number showing up as mobile also sounds very familiar. I haven't had any of these issues since I migrated my contacts, calendar and email to Outlook.com and now I'm also using a Windows Phone.

Honestly, all I can say is that the MMI works very well in my car. It is not as cutting edge as many of my other devices, but it gets the job done when I'm behind the wheel. I have had this feeling for a while. I suspect that many of the issues people report can actually be traced back to poor Bluetooth stacks in particular in Android. The Bluetooth device is actually very central to the MMI functionality, so if your phone is not playing ball, then you will have a poor experience with the system.

EDIT: Thought I amend my post with a picture of a proper functioning setup. This is what comes up if I tell the MMI to call myself w/o being specific about which line to call. For contacts that have more than one line of the same type, for example I have friends with a personal and a work cell, I store the personal cell as mobile 1 in my phone and the work cell as mobile 2. That is preserved all the way through the MMI, the first cell number on the list will always be mobile 1, followed by mobile 2, so I know the first one is their personal cell. If this is not what you are getting then I would suggest you throw your phone out the window and get one that properly syncs your contact information over Bluetooth.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTopBloke View Post
I recently picked up a 2014 A4, and while I can see my phone numbers in the MMI, if I attempt to use the voice commands, it says phone book is empty. Huh? Anybody have this problem and figure out what's going on here?
FWIW, this just happened to me today after my Lumia 920 got updated to Windows Phone 8.1 last night. I was about to curse at Microsoft for breaking my beloved Bluetooth integration, but I first decided to reboot the MMI. Lo and behold the problem was fixed after the reboot. Might wanna give that a try. To reboot the MMI, simultaneously press Menu, the rotary **** and the upper right function button. The screen should go dark and the entire system should reboot and come back in a few seconds. If that doesn't work, delete your phone and pair it again.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by superswiss View Post
I get different icons for home, work, cell and fax and it's dialing the right one
I do too if the contact doesn't have multiple email addresses.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:03 PM   #15
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I do too if the contact doesn't have multiple email addresses.
What? Are you saying your MMI is trying to call somebody's email address? Well, that would be a major fail of your phone if it syncs the email addresses to the MMI as phone #s. Email addresses I have associated with my contacts don't show anywhere in my directory. I don't know why I would want them to show. You can't send an email from the MMI after all.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:40 AM   #16
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Yes, just as stated in my previous post. How can you be so sure the fail is completely on the phone's part? I never had this issue when using a separate speakerphone in my previous car.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:54 AM   #17
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Yes, just as stated in my previous post. How can you be so sure the fail is completely on the phone's part? I never had this issue when using a separate speakerphone in my previous car.
For several reasons. First of all I'm a software engineer and deal with integration issues on a regular basis. 9 out of 10 times, the problem is the source and not the destination. The protocols (Bluetooth Profiles) involved to make this hands free integration work are standardized and documented, but it is 100% the phone's responsibility to send the data in the correct format, so that it is understood by the destination. If the phone sends an email address where a phone # should go then there is nothing the MMI can do to fix that and it will completely ruin the experience.

I've used iOS and Windows Phone with the old generation Audi RNS-E system as well as several generations of today's MMI. I've never had these kinds of issues. That's not to say it was all problem free. Both iOS and Windows Phone had Bluetooth bugs along the way, but they got fixed by Apple and Microsoft respectively. For example when I first got my Lumia 920, it wouldn't sync contacts at all with my B7 S4, but Microsoft fixed the issue in an update and it has worked ever since. I know that both Apple and Microsoft test their devices with the MMI and make sure it works, because Audi is a leader in car infotainment and Audis are popular among those who can afford high-end smartphones. Android's Bluetooth issues are well documented and are not getting fixed. At least not for phones that are stuck with an older version of Android. That's the biggest problem with Android. Most phones never get updated to the latest version of Android and it's a big reason I've so far stayed away from the platform for my own personal use. The good thing about Android is that pretty much any part of the system can be replaced, so there are several Bluetooth apps in the Play Store and in other stores that replace the built-in broken Bluetooth implementation and attempt to fix these issues. But the gist of it is, that 2 out of the 3 current major mobile platforms don't seem to have issues with the MMI.

I don't know what you mean by separate speakerphone you were using. There are two different ways for phones to connect with these kinds of systems. Either via the Headset Profile (HSP) or the Hands-Free Profile (HFP). The latter is what the MMI uses and is a lot more involved. HFP works in conjunction with a slew of other Bluetooth Profiles to make it all work, therefore it's much more involved. HSP is used by Bluetooth headsets and car systems that don't provide the deep integration with the phone's data as the MMI does. HSP is less complicated and generally is less buggy. There are occasionally issues with certain brands of headsets.

Lastly, I don't claim the MMI is a 100% bug free, but the key take away is that both Apple and Microsoft, if there are bugs seem to be able to work around them and make it all work. Google and their phone vendors don't show this level of interest. The bright star in the sky is the new Android Auto functionality, so the future of Android integration with your car looks promising, but it will require you to buy a new car that supports Android Auto and a new phone, because Android Auto will not be back ported to older versions of Android.
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Last edited by superswiss; 08-21-2014 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:50 AM   #18
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Just a quick helpful link. Following is the official compatible devices database from Audi that lists all compatible devices and what part of the functionality is supposed to work with each device at least as of the firmware that they tested. Some of them were tested a long time ago, which means if the phone has received an update it either now supports additional features or possibly broke a feature that used to work. For my phone for example it still says I can't use my contact addresses for navigation, but that's no longer true. Addresses from my contacts sync just fine and I can navigate to them.

AUDI - Bluetooth compatible devices
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:50 AM
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