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What features would you like to see CarPC hardware have?

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  • What features would you like to see CarPC hardware have?

    One of my goals at CES was to work on some hardware partnerships for openMobile. As i talked with various manufacturers and PCB designers the same question kept coming up....what features does an aftermarket car-pc need, which would just be cool and which are completely unnecessary? There are two different units currently being designed so well keep the goals for the two separate....one is a double din in dash system the other is a very slim battery powered PND.

    Some example features:
    Wifi
    Bluetooth
    GPRS (cell phone based internet)
    ATSC mobile tuner (US TV)
    AM/FM Radio
    HD Radio
    XM/Sirius Radio
    SSD Hard Drive (how big?)
    FM Transmitter

    I'm looking not just for opinions of those in the carputing community but also average consumers so feel free to ask wives, girlfriends, friends, etc.
    openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
    - Always Recruiting Developers -
    Like what you see? Donations are always welcome

  • #2
    based on what i have seen on these forums, and from what i, and my family members use the most, i would have to say that usb(at least 2-4 ports ), gps, wifi, bluetooth, and am/fm radio, with a 30-40gb hdd would work fine(though the hdd size can vary with the os you use-- vista/win 7 needs about 15 gigs, xp is around 5...), and those features, minus the am/fm reciever, but adding the fm transmitter would be a great feature on the PND...
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided

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    • #3
      I would also suggest some kind of audio switcher/mixer.

      I've got a problem where I have more audio sources than I have inputs. HD Radio, Sirius Radio, and some other input (cell phone, game console, etc) all contribute to having more inputs sources than inputs.

      Ryan

      Comment


      • #4
        for the double-din unit: sunlight readable capacitive screen, some hardware buttons and at least one rotary control, integrated hd am/fm radio, gps, etc. pretty much what's already been listed.
        EWF, HORM, MinLogon on XP.

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        • #5
          Front/Rear/Sub audio preouts.

          This was my biggest decision when I chose what motherboard to use as I already had a 5 channel amp in my car before switching to a carPC. I didn't want to use a USB soundcard so finding a motherboard with onboard audio to support separate output channels for at least 4.1 was a must.

          Most of the 1-DIN and 2-DIN carPCs out there, at best, do only 4 channel for front and rear speakers, but no sub.

          Comment


          • #6
            GPRS is absolutely necessary for downloadable content (think My movies, lyrics, news, etc. - all very important if you have passengers). Ability to control multiple screens is a must.

            My wife loves the 2x HTPC I've built, and misses a lot of features she finds there.

            I don't care for AM/FM anymore, I listen a lot to podcasts and Pandora however.
            Worklogs: 08 Sequoia Platinum Carputer (In Progress!)
            Skin: MetroSex on the Beach preview

            07 Infiniti Fx35 (done!) & 06 Infiniti M35 (gone...)

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            • #7
              justchat, could you maybe clarify what market you are looking at going after?

              my parents, and siblings look to me for computer literacy--so anything more than a basic, well thought out, mindless interface(music button plays music, and doesn't have a way to easily get into the music settings, settings are where they can't accidently be changed, etc...) will not work for anyone but me...

              the entire reason i went with a carputer was for audio processing(which a atom processor doesn't do the greatest with...), and web access-- both features that most of my near family/friends have no desire to use...

              so if you were to go after a consumer market in general, then i would tell you not to include audio processing, or any fancy, 'hand-me-the-manual-again' features, like audio processing, or multiple audio outputs, because this will only hurt your sales(there are more than enough reviews on newegg from people that toss a device in the trash because they press a wrong button too many times, or can't figure out how to use a feature...).

              if you want to go after a all-in-one solution that hopefully pleases all of us....well, i don't think that is possible . too many of us want/need specific features for our installs that no-one else wants/needs, for instance: i want audio processing, but want nothing to do with audio switching, gprs connections, or capacitive touch screens (as long as it detects my finger, or a stylus, i don't care how it works...), and the others that have posted, i imagine would not want much to do with audio processing... then there is the computing power-- for audio, i would need something like a pentium dual core or better, but to some others, this is dramatic overkill, and a waste of money and power, and they need nothing more than a atom.
              My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
              "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


              next project? subaru brz
              carpc undecided

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SFiorito View Post
                for the double-din unit: sunlight readable capacitive screen, some hardware buttons and at least one rotary control, integrated hd am/fm radio, gps, etc. pretty much what's already been listed.
                heres one of the problems.....we could throw every feature under the sun into the unit and most customers would probably be pleased until they have to pay for it. An $8-$900 phone with everything built in isn't an issue when its subsidized down to $100 for the consumer, but we don't have that luxury. The goal is to include only the features that are necessary/will make the device stand out. Anything else adds cost but may not necessarily add value in the eyes of consumers.

                Originally posted by jbradshw View Post
                Front/Rear/Sub audio preouts.

                This was my biggest decision when I chose what motherboard to use as I already had a 5 channel amp in my car before switching to a carPC. I didn't want to use a USB soundcard so finding a motherboard with onboard audio to support separate output channels for at least 4.1 was a must.

                Most of the 1-DIN and 2-DIN carPCs out there, at best, do only 4 channel for front and rear speakers, but no sub.
                Excellent suggestion...adding a sub out rca jack would probably be very doable. The other four channels have either RCA or a built in 45x4W amplifier.

                Originally posted by RipplingHurst View Post
                GPRS is absolutely necessary for downloadable content (think My movies, lyrics, news, etc. - all very important if you have passengers). Ability to control multiple screens is a must.

                My wife loves the 2x HTPC I've built, and misses a lot of features she finds there.

                I don't care for AM/FM anymore, I listen a lot to podcasts and Pandora however.
                Not sure how many of the PNDs you saw from CES but one of the big features were pandora apps that allowed an iPhone to be used as the internet provider (saving the end user from a separate $50/month internet connection). What do you guys think about the idea of using either a usb dongle for 3G/4G (the My Ford style) or tethering any phone and using that (either bluetooth or usb with PDA Net).
                Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
                justchat, could you maybe clarify what market you are looking at going after?

                my parents, and siblings look to me for computer literacy--so anything more than a basic, well thought out, mindless interface(music button plays music, and doesn't have a way to easily get into the music settings, settings are where they can't accidently be changed, etc...) will not work for anyone but me...

                the entire reason i went with a carputer was for audio processing(which a atom processor doesn't do the greatest with...), and web access-- both features that most of my near family/friends have no desire to use...

                so if you were to go after a consumer market in general, then i would tell you not to include audio processing, or any fancy, 'hand-me-the-manual-again' features, like audio processing, or multiple audio outputs, because this will only hurt your sales(there are more than enough reviews on newegg from people that toss a device in the trash because they press a wrong button too many times, or can't figure out how to use a feature...).

                if you want to go after a all-in-one solution that hopefully pleases all of us....well, i don't think that is possible . too many of us want/need specific features for our installs that no-one else wants/needs, for instance: i want audio processing, but want nothing to do with audio switching, gprs connections, or capacitive touch screens (as long as it detects my finger, or a stylus, i don't care how it works...), and the others that have posted, i imagine would not want much to do with audio processing... then there is the computing power-- for audio, i would need something like a pentium dual core or better, but to some others, this is dramatic overkill, and a waste of money and power, and they need nothing more than a atom.
                Like a lot of other products, our goal is to target the center 80% of the market. The users who want infotainment, navigation, maybe some cool applications and everything to "just work". Fringe uses like heavy audio processing, alot of channels, massive audio switching, engine tuning, etc. are probably still best left to home built solutions.
                openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
                - Always Recruiting Developers -
                Like what you see? Donations are always welcome

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi i'm from Peru, SouthAmerica . Here

                  - Am/Fm Receiver would be interesting,
                  - also a detachable/motorized screen for accessing
                  - an internal DVD drive and
                  - for preventing stealing (yeah!).
                  - 4 usb (2 back, 2 front) maybe Front SD Card
                  - capacity to control another screen.
                  - GPRS (by GSM Sim Card)
                  - Bluetooth
                  - Wifi
                  - GPS
                  - Intenal 4x40W amplifier

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
                    heres one of the problems.....we could throw every feature under the sun into the unit and most customers would probably be pleased until they have to pay for it. An $8-$900 phone with everything built in isn't an issue when its subsidized down to $100 for the consumer, but we don't have that luxury. The goal is to include only the features that are necessary/will make the device stand out. Anything else adds cost but may not necessarily add value in the eyes of consumers.

                    (...)

                    Like a lot of other products, our goal is to target the center 80% of the market. The users who want infotainment, navigation, maybe some cool applications and everything to "just work". Fringe uses like heavy audio processing, alot of channels, massive audio switching, engine tuning, etc. are probably still best left to home built solutions.

                    I understand your point there, and I think it makes perfectly good sense. The guys at the CF forum talk about this all the time - specially the beta testers, they seemed to be in love with CF's shortcomings...it won't sell if the developing team spends too much time with, you know, particular needs...It's true that, but maybe up to a point?

                    I just want to add that I believe that there is ALSO a lot of money to be had in the upper/niche level market. The risks can be higher, but the margins are much bigger too. Lee Iacocca once famously said that for every Cadillac GM sells, Ford would have to sell 20X Mustangs, and even then they would profit less.

                    Granted, it's a niche market. But it's true that there's somebody out there spending money developing turbo kits for Lexus IS-Fs...For every 100 Turbo Civics, I've seen one IS-F with nitro - how much? Don't ask. It doesn't matter.

                    These people just want a carputer to be different, to add value, maybe just to put to use money from the last stock trade. I'm not talking about over the top pimping. What exactly will sell I have no idea, of course.

                    The guy who can't/don't want to buy an Alpine and ALSO is NOT willing to spend time tinkering with the setup, he won't likely be a happy customer - it's going to be difficult to please. Now sell a system worth N, with a support worth 3X N for 5X N, now that might just work.


                    It just need to work reasonably well. They know computers are finicky, so they also want VIP support and they're willing to spend a lot for that.


                    Just don't tell their system crashed because it's their fault because, say, they used an unpowered USB hub to connect an external HD - you're better off installing the HD yourself - or sending one with the proper HUB via next day FedEx for free. THAT will make him feel like he got value - that's the kind of thing he gets from the Lexus dealer, for instance, but not from the Toyota.... Got the picture?

                    I'm not saying this because I think it's the right time for you to go that route - I'm not expecting you to go by me of course - I'm just saying that I'm HOPING the carpc industry will find such a niche too. It can only grow from that.

                    /rant

                    Cheers.

                    RH
                    Worklogs: 08 Sequoia Platinum Carputer (In Progress!)
                    Skin: MetroSex on the Beach preview

                    07 Infiniti Fx35 (done!) & 06 Infiniti M35 (gone...)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Much as I might quibble with his characterization of CF developers, I find myself in agreement with RipplingHurst.

                      This Link is what you get for $310. There is no way on earth you can match that price with those features in a full-on carPC. THAT is what 80% of the market buys. Maybe 5% buys the kinds of toys we're playing with.

                      If you came up with a 2DIN package that did all that AND had the ports and connections of a standard PC and a normal OS (I don't care what, it can be changed) for around $400-500, I might buy it. Not sure where I'd put it, but I would be interested. Come up with a complete PC/audio/video solution for around $5000-7000, and I won't be buying it, but I'd bet you WOULD sell a bunch to top-line tuners and aftermarket types. I think RH is right on the money with that observation.

                      Cheers!

                      VegasGuy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sound card with 4.1 RCA 6V outputs, shielded from the rest of the pc.

                        2 headphone out, and 2 VGA out for the kids on the backseat, so I can see and hear GPS,
                        while kids are watching Shrek n+1
                        (I don't have kids, but I'm planning an install for one of my friends too)

                        Cheap capacitive touchscreen, with LED backlight TFT (TFT is cheap, LEDs are cheap,
                        I bought a 9" capacitive touchscreen for ~$40, so what costs $700 in a 7" screen?)

                        I think Bluetooth, GPS, FM, WiFi, GPRS are better when external USB, for many reasons.
                        You can power on an USB device anytime when you need it, but if you disabled Bluetooth
                        in the BIOS, it's a bit difficult to turn it on without restart. With too many integrated devices,
                        the boot time will be slow as hell.

                        Integrated wifi (like on the Zotac board) has no point in a carpc, on the rare occasions when
                        you want to use it, you can just connect an usb wifi dongle.
                        Check my worklog:
                        Corsa + Atom + Gentoo Linux + 9" capacitive touchscreen

                        Lord of the boards: DFI CP100-NRM

                        "Or you can try Ubuntu, but than don't tell everyone you are using linux,
                        because it's just a secret unreleased prebeta of Windows 3829" :P

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by simplex View Post
                          Cheap capacitive touchscreen, with LED backlight TFT (TFT is cheap, LEDs are cheap, ....... I think Bluetooth, GPS, FM, WiFi, GPRS are better when external USB, for many reasons.
                          ... ...... Integrated wifi (like on the Zotac board) has no point in a carpc, on the rare occasions when
                          you want to use it, you can just connect an usb wifi dongle.

                          I strongly disagree with you, and this points out why you won't be able to cater to the 80% market. 80% of the people won't be able to agree on what they want, so they'll either have to suck it up and use USB dongles for things like wifi, bluetooth, fm, etc (Which begs the question, wtf is the point of an all-in-one at that point), or they'll be stuck with 10 features they don't need, and didn't need to pay for.

                          If you could make it modular enough to let people select features they want, while still remaining competitive with the $300-$400 chinese units... then you might have a chance. Otherwise you're going to wind up with another Guru.


                          On a side note, whatever you do, don't go capacitive. I LOVE being able to use a stylus on my screen.
                          "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
                          RevFE
                          My Shop

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                          • #14
                            Voice control!!!!!
                            Hands Free control!!!
                            Oh yeah, VOICE CONTROL !!!


                            That is all.

                            Mal
                            Vehicle: [100%] 1995 C 1500 ECLB
                            Gear: [90%]
                            Build: [80%] PC & Chassis, Worklog

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by malcom2073 View Post
                              I strongly disagree with you, and this points out why you won't be able to cater to the 80% market. 80% of the people won't be able to agree on what they want, so they'll either have to suck it up and use USB dongles for things like wifi, bluetooth, fm, etc (Which begs the question, wtf is the point of an all-in-one at that point), or they'll be stuck with 10 features they don't need, and didn't need to pay for.

                              If you could make it modular enough to let people select features they want, while still remaining competitive with the $300-$400 chinese units... then you might have a chance. Otherwise you're going to wind up with another Guru.
                              An usb device seems modular enough for me Also, external GPS and FM aerial has better signal.
                              But yes, a general solution will always suffer from something.

                              Originally posted by malcom2073 View Post
                              On a side note, whatever you do, don't go capacitive. I LOVE being able to use a stylus on my screen.
                              I think buttons are big enough for my fingers on a double-din touchscreen. Also,
                              capacitive touchscreen is generally more durable, has better sunlight readability,
                              and more sensitive. Not to mention multitouch functionality.

                              Also, one personal option: I'm left handed, so I can't really benefit from a stylus.
                              Check my worklog:
                              Corsa + Atom + Gentoo Linux + 9" capacitive touchscreen

                              Lord of the boards: DFI CP100-NRM

                              "Or you can try Ubuntu, but than don't tell everyone you are using linux,
                              because it's just a secret unreleased prebeta of Windows 3829" :P

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