Starting an Android build with Asus tablet
Okay. So I have OpenMobile in my car. Works well, although we are still perfecting things.
Next step is my 2nd vehicle (Chevy Blazer). I want to do an Android build. And so it begins......
As most will tell you, there is no "real" car computer front ends specifically (perfectly?) suited to in-car entertainment. Well, not yet. However there are several things you can put together to do the job fairly well.
Here are some of the requirements I have for this type of install:
- Internet connection: A mobile hotspot to provide the main unit and any guest units with an internet connection while in the car.
- GPS/Nav: Must have maps and guidance with me ;)
- Audio: Must be able to hear the audio from tablet on the car speakers.
- Power/Sleep: The unit must not go to sleep while in the car, and powered from the car.
- Car mode: I would really like to have the tablet set itself into the proper state when in the car.
Here is the list of things I have started playing with:
Android tablet: I currently have an Asus Transformer Pad TF300 with Jelly Bean
- CarHome: Has large button icons. Turns itself into the Home Screen until you specifically exit the app.
- CoPilot Premium: So far the best Android GPS/Nav app I have tried. Full North American version for only $20. Note: at the link, if you Buy Now you can get the N/A version, otherwise the USA version + Canada add-in.
- Tasker: Excellent at action/reaction scripting engine. Can be set up to detect when you are in your car and set things accordingly
- TuneIn Radio: I have a DirectedHD unit in the car. Reception is kind of lousy when the PC is running. So for the Blazer I want to avoid this.
- LTE/3G wifi hotspot: Using a Sierra Wireless Air Card 763. Works well, goes to sleep when no connections. Charges via USB
- Torque Lite: Uses inexpensive bluetooth OBDII devices to provide information on your tablet.
- Bluetooth A2DP device: takes audio from the tablet and feeds your amp to save on wiring. Also, for now, the tablet will not be solidly mounted "in" the dash so having an audio cable stick out the side is a pain. See further on about these.
This tablet has a proprietary docking/charging connector, and requires more than 12V to properly charge. So I bought a car charger specifically for this tablet.
For the first run, there will be no fabricating a unit into the dash. In fact, until I get set up perfected to the point it's dead easy for my wife to use (it's her Blazer), I will be trial running it in my car. To this end, I have put some decent velco onto my dash and the back of the tablet to secure it when I am using it. The car charger will be plugged into a switched outlet and plugged into the tablet when I get in the car, and stick it to the velcro. This will be the only wire running to the tablet. Any other devices will need to be via Bluetooth.
<pic to follow>
I will update this first post with any changes to my design, and links to the things I have settled on as things progress. My initial tests in-home at my desk are showing promising results.