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Automotive Computing (R)Evolution - The Android Head Unit Build - Apps That Rock!

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by , 08-15-2013 at 03:33 PM (23010 Views)

No matter what operating system you choose to control your automotive infotainment, software plays a heavy role in how the driver controls the solution. With Android, most every knows about the popular Google applications like Voice, Maps, and the Music, but someone venturing to install android as the heart of their car computer may not realize the power of the Google Play store in creating a terrific Android-Powered experience. The purpose of this post is to recognize some of the software products that provide functions to an automotive setup. So without further delay...


Car Home Ultra


I've mentioned this piece of software in prior posts, but it deserves recognition as a valued car Android software centerpiece. Car Home Ultra is a terrific solution for someone looking to access a host of android applications in a touch-friendly manner. Designed similarly to the Windows-based front ends we've all grown to love, Car Home Ultra may be the current best option to those looking for that experience. The buttons are large and touch friendly, allowing for 5 screens of 3x3 application launch buttons which can be customized to your liking. The colors can all be uniquely altered to match driver preference, and items like Speed, Weather, and Time/Date are all handy. Car Home Ultra can even be set to replace the Home launcher in Android. You can set the software to load on boot and use it exclusively to manage your android functions.

Tablet Talk


The would be hands-free solution for the ODROID. Short of creating a hands-free call link, Tablet Talk can do it all. The application must be installed on both your ODROID, and Android smart phone, but once the Bluetooth connection is made your Android car computer can send, receive, and manage your SMS messages. Users can select ringtones, receive text pop-up screens, and reply to texts via on-screen keyboard or voice. Tablet Talk will also ring for incoming calls, display incoming call prompts, and mute audio playback during a call. Keep in mind that with the ODROID, it can not play your caller through the audio system, based on lack of Bluetooth HFP profile support, but the app is still great!

Tasker


Anyone who has ever thought about automating an Android has probably heard about Tasker. There are many ways in which Tasker can come in handy when installing an ODROID in the car. While not the most touch-friendly application, Tasker can be used to automate tasks large and small. Want to dim your screen at a certain hour? Tasker can handle it with ease. Tasker can also tackle small tasks with the ODROID, such as reducing power consumption by underclocking the CPU when a Bluetooth phone is not connected. Tasker can lift heavy duty scenarios too with built in scripting support.

MortPlayer Music


I used to really love Google Music... until I tried to use it in a car. The interface is beyond chaotic to try to navigate, and if you're looking to play media from local storage like an external USB drive you better have a computer science degree. Enter MortPlayer Music. Built for touch from the ground up, MortPlayer can give you access to all of your music on local media in a clean and easy to use manner. MortPlayer does not rely on a database for music sorting, it relies on the user to have a folder structure in place to make the most out of the music library. MortPlayer has built in support for playlists, ID3, cover art, and more. It can also be heavily customized with themes, movable buttons, and color options.

Other Android apps that rock include...
Tunein Radio Worldwide radio stations at your fingertips. Nice touch interface.
Torque Pro Incredible OBD-II/CAN all in one solution. Heavily customizable and Touch-friendly.
Waze Crowd Sourcing navigation and live traffic information, Waze can many times serve as a free-replacement to Google Maps
Beyond Podcast A great podcast downloader and manager allowing for streaming and offline support of your favorite shows
PL2303GPS MockLocationProvider If you have a Prolific-based GPS device such as the BU-353, you need this app to make the device work with Android!
Paragon Ntfs Mounter Users playing songs from external based storage will appreciate this app which will auto-mount USB media at boot or when its plugged in.

Have an Android app you'd like to add, please do!

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Quote Originally Posted by overlander View Post
Any more update on this? I have a 700TSV in my vehicle now and I'm growing to hate it. Keeps resetting itself to low brightness no matter what I do (old firmware) and if the sun hits it at all (even indirectly) I can't see anything on the screen. I'm curious how well this does in true sunlight from anyone with first hand experience. I was considerin replacing mine with the high brightness (1000 nt) version, but would this be a better replacement even though it's also only 500 like my TSV? In total brightness, when I put my Samsung Galaxy V next to my TSV, I can still see the Galaxy 4 active clearly even though the TSV is totally washed out.
After the release of cheap tablets I fail to see the draw for any of these screens we all used to drool over. Theyre overpriced and cause more headaches than they are worth. I owned one when I used to have a whole mac mini in my car, but once the ipad came out...wtf did I need a whole PSU, computer, screen, GPS dongle, etc when its all in one package for a much better price for what you get and how easy it is to work with.

I know we all used to like the idea of a fully integrated car and DIY hacks and all that, seems mp3car is still going strong with that...but, so many large companies are getting on board and making turnkey solutions that it seems to be more of a hobby than useful anymore to go full out custom.
Any more update on this? I have a 700TSV in my vehicle now and I'm growing to hate it. Keeps resetting itself to low brightness no matter what I do (old firmware) and if the sun hits it at all (even indirectly) I can't see anything on the screen. I'm curious how well this does in true sunlight from anyone with first hand experience. I was considerin replacing mine with the high brightness (1000 nt) version, but would this be a better replacement even though it's also only 500 like my TSV? In total brightness, when I put my Samsung Galaxy V next to my TSV, I can still see the Galaxy 4 active clearly even though the TSV is totally washed out.
any chance you can measure the size of that screen? The visible pixel dimensions and the overall screen dimension? Pcb dimensions too? Probably a bit of work. I'd really appreciate it if you took a few minutes to do that for me though.