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Handheld PC as frontend (yes, a rehash) (ideas welcome!)

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  • Handheld PC as frontend (yes, a rehash) (ideas welcome!)

    I was browsing around online and looking at the various screen offerings, and had a sudden idea. What about using a tablet PC as a frontend for an in-car PC? In searching the archives, I see that this idea has been explored (and flamed), but hear me out.

    I have an '01 VW Jetta, and I don't plan on keeping it forever. Therefore, I don't want to muck up the dash too much. This rules out in-dash custom double-din bezels. Also, that goofy cupholder has to stay. Since the motorized and non-motorized LCDs stick out a bit, it will interfere with the cupholder. (S.O.'s coffee must have a place to live while we're driving.) Anyway...

    There's a 1/2 DIN thin push-to-eject cup holder, an empty 1-din slot underneath that, and a 1-din factory head unit at the bottom. The factory audio is monsoon with component speakers, and does a pretty good job, so I'm not moving hyper-fast to replace it.


    I fill the empty slot with an LED (not LCD!) screen, perhaps 4 lines, perhaps more. Depending on size, I may also fit a slimline CD drive above or below, and perhaps a USB port next to it. The LED screen would display the song being currently played, and audio navigation features.

    The VW headunit has a CD-changer capacity, but it uses a custom connector. This connector can be hooked up to the PC for sending serial commands. So, I could use the stock headunit for navigating, say, a "favorite mixes" list, and forward/back in the playlist.

    Now, the handheld comes in for managing serious playlists, digging up music archives, browsing the web, browsing maps, watching and tweaking car performance data, and so on. Also a bling gadget for the GF to use for browsing 80 gigs of music. I could take a Nokia 770 and run a remote VNC viewer over WiFi right onto the carputer's 'desktop', or use one of the PHP music DB interfaces and manipulate it with the browser.

    What do you think?


  • #2
    check the review section for use of a handheld as a carpc, esp for one written by yours truly

    Other htan that, thats an interesting project...acutally, its close to the one i'm attempting to do now...down the the tablet pc! I'm not planning head unit integration though. Rudeo control is a great PPC app to manage playslists via wifi for WMP.
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    • #3
      Aye, very close! I have an older IBM thinkpad X30 (the tiny, lightweight one), which I use the same way. Works great, although the screen is really hard to see in the sun.

      My thoughts here are to have a standalone computer running semi-permanently, and then use a handheld for detailed control. Also, I can take it in the house and use it to control the music and automation systems I'm installing.