Smartphones In Dashboards: Nexus 7, Meet Nissan cube

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A Google Nexus 7 tablet installed in the double-DIN of a 2009 Nissan cube

One forum member grafted a Nexus 7 tablet into his Nissan cube’s double-DIN space, creating a clean install that should be much more capable than the factory unit it replaced– or, for that matter, the optional 5-inch navigation system now available in newer cubes. (airesso photo courtesy

We’ve talked before about iPads being installed in dashboards, and with the proliferation of smartphones and cheap tablets, we’re sure it’s a trend that will only snowball with time. The latest example I stumbled across: A Nexus 7 installed in a Nissan cube.

Being a cube owner and fan, I have to say this is both cool and intimidating to consider doing. The install notes come from forums, where the owner of this particular 2009 cube said quite a bit of fabrication was involved. We quote NCL forum member airesso:

Instead of building out a custom enclosure I grabbed an old double din radio and got out a couple screw drives and a hammer at one point. Ripped it apart and used just the box. I had to dremel off the bottom lip to get the distance just right.

To keep the Nexus from being too far in the dash I dremeled the inset down about a quarter of an inch. Then used some sticky back felt from JoAnns to line the edge for a nice seal.

To mount the Nexus to the radio enclosure I used some tiny screws salvaged from the radio I took apart. Had to sacrifice a cheap case but it holds it great!

At this point I wanted to check alignment so I attached the case with only 2 screws and popped it in with no wiring to see how things looked. It was centered great but about 1/4 of an inch too far back. I solved this by adding some nylon spacers between the mount and the dash.

Started figuring out how to run the wires to connect everything. The headphone jack runs to a 3.5mm Y joiner so I can have an aux in which I mounted in the start button hole. The 3.5mm Y then goes turns into RCA cables and runs to the amp. The usb wire runs to a 12v socket… inside the radio box [where I] plugged in a 2.1amp USB charger to keep the Nexus charged. The red sleeve at the bottom will eventually connect to the amp remote line to power up the amp.

Everything is powered off the head unit battery line so it’s only on when the ignition is on which is critical so the Nexus and amp don’t drain the battery. I found out that the radio wiring harness for my cube didn’t have a ground! There’s a smaller plug that attaches to the stock radio that has a ground, but my goal was to not modify the existing wiring at all, so I just grounded to the radio box which is fine since it screws into the car frame and grounds out.

Would I prefer this over the cube’s optional navigation system and its 5-inch touchscreen? Absolutely. To my eye, the Nexus 7’s all-glass real estate looks much cleaner than the Nissan-branded unit. But would I ever go through the trouble of installing such a setup in our cube? Probably not. It’s only a matter of time before the aftermarket takes on the task of creating install kits to make these jobs a little less daunting, though. Maybe then I could see myself tackling a project like this.

Here’s a video airesso posted of the install. Check out his full photos of the install over at NissanCubeLife.

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  • Brett

    Check out for some nice tablet mounting solutions.