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Copying portable GPS features...

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  • Copying portable GPS features...

    First, a little background:
    Before I started my carpc project I had a TomTom 910. It was about as close to an off-the-shelf carpc, all-in-one solution that you can get. It had GPS functionality (of course), multimedia (pictures, music, ipod connectivity), bluetooth phone integration, etc. It really was a great device.
    The problem:
    Although some development was supported for the TomTom, it was a little tricky and not friendly by any means. The greatest flexibility seems to be offered via an actual PC, which gets me to where I am today.

    I have my carpc running Windows XP, and I've been evaluating front-ends. I'm running a trial of streetdeck right now and really like it. I also use copilot live 10 for my nav.

    Trouble is, there are a lot of features that the off-the-shelf gps units give a person that really take some work on the PC side. For example, switching between my front-end (streetdeck, or anything else for that matter) and my external nav application.

    My goal is this: I'd love to have a single application that would run on the carpc that integrated multimedia, nav, etc into a single, touch friendly interface. Yes, I know the basic idea has been done... but what about those users who want to use a third party nav application (iguidance, copilot, etc)?
    There is also a wishlist going for features that devices like the TomTom already have:
    Voice recognition - speak the address or GUI navigation commands
    Fast startup/shutdown - still not quite there with the speed on XP
    Streamlined way to copy content - sync mp3s with home pc
    ipod integration - I love having the ability for passengers to plug their ipod in and be able to navigate it just like my local music collection

    I'm a developer by profession - .Net windows applications are a favorite of mine - so I'm thinking I might have to jump into the front end development world.

  • #2
    I'd go with RoadRunner, Developed in VB6.

    Nice touchscreen interface, completely skinnable (i reccomend the DigitalFX 2.0 skin) and works great with iGuidance, streets and trips, and others.
    Voice recognition I havent looked in to , but i bet someone has.
    Fast startup can be done. Maybe not as fast as the TomTom but quick. I have my system here booting windows in 13 seconds. Add a bit for the BIOS POST and whatnot, and its decently fast. For shutdown, most systems just go in to hibernate, or standby. Check out the M2 ATX power supply in the store.
    Streamlined way to copy content.. Theres a cool app to copy media from CDs and thumbdrives when inserted in to the computer, and im sure theres ways to sync music between your car and home computers. I just havent looked in to it yet, but will in the not too distant future.
    Ipod integration is done and works great =]

    Just my two cents. The sources for RoadRunner are great as well, and got me started on developing my RRCam program =]
    cashtexts - Earn money for receiving text messaged offers
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    Space Navigator - 6 Axis input device: Take it apart - Driver App
    RRCam - Video/webcam capture, text overlay, and recording: 2.0 Stable


    • #3
      you could sync with your home computer using wifi
      802.11b/g is plenty fast enough for a couple of songs from the driveway.
      just share the folders
      06 Altima..SER front bumper.
      CAR PC.....soon to be true!!
      Oshawa Canada!!


      • #4
        I'll 2nd RoadRunner. It is not so much a single app, but different apps do integrate pretty well and responsively. I have iGuidance and TOPO! integrated pretty well. In fact, RR can automatically switch from any screen to the nav screen when it's giving a direction, and then switch back.

        I solved the fast startup issue by having it go to standby when the car is shut off. When I start the car, music starts playing before I can release the brake and put the car in gear (couple seconds). I did replace the car battery with an Optima deep-cycle for a little extra security, but it has sat a week without any startup problems.

        I do sync my iTunes library over Wifi with my home PC when my truck is in my driveway. Originally I had it do it automatically whenever it was in range, but now I just do it with a button on the skin instead (since I don't do it very often). This same sync operation updates any nav maps and skin files, so I can make modifications to the system from the comfort of my home PC. I use EZsync to do the synchronizing. When you can just sync your iTunes library with the press of a button, I see no need to connect an iPod.

        Roadrunner also supports customizable voice control. I started experimenting with it, but realized I didn't really like talking to the thing too much... just rather push buttons and turn knobs.

        There are also a lot of advantages of a CarPC over the portable units, including sat radio, backup cam, vehicle diagnostics, cleaner install, higher quality music (portable units usually use FM modulation), and many more.

        For more info, my system is described in the link in my sig.
        My setup: Hummer H3, iBase MB899, Intel Core Duo, RR, iGv3, DSATX, Mechatroniks chassis, 41Hz AMP3