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  • Times are a changin

    Just some thoughts:


    With the latest developments here with the Ipad docks, and the news coming out of the Computex show, I think its safe to say the times are a changing for how CarPC systems will be built in the future, and I believe the future will definitely be with pad devices, they have an incredible amount of hardware integration at an affordable price. 3/4G connectivity will eliminate the need for some of the hardware.

    Near term, the pad devices that use Win7 will be the easiest migration for those that want existing hardware to work, i.e. HD Radio, satellite radio, fusion brain, and other devices that have windows drivers readily available. Also front ends that use Windows have an edge at the moment.

    Of course the Ipad is the rage right now, but my concerns there are with the way Apple has their devices and applications guarded by a seemingly iron fist. Not sure if we can get drivers for hardware and a nice automotive style front end integrated, but we'll find out soon enough.

    Meego pads will be interesting. Here we have a linux OS, designed to run on multiple hardware platforms that has as a goal to integrate in-car entertainment. We also have front ends that run on Linux, and hardware support has been coming along.

    Android is the dark horse here. Android pads are coming and while the first generation of pads won't have great OS integration, I can imagine this will improve tremendously over the next year. Will we get hardware support, and will there be a auto style front end?

    While my current installs are all Win7 based mini-itx systems I put together myself with all the other hardware wired up all around the vehicles, I'm quite sure my next system will be a pad device, and a much simplified installation.

    After building pretty much the same kind of systems for the last 6 years its going to be really exciting here in the next couple.
    TruckPC - gutted, being used for test setup
    BoatPC - All in 1 in cuddy, N7 using VNC on dash, RR
    BlazerPC - Nexus 7 with Timur's USBROM

  • #2
    Don't see it. I see them as additions, certainly, but some sort of move towards the more portable devices, x-pad/tablet type included? Nah.

    Greed will stop it. Apple, and not to single them out, most other manufacturers of such products hold onto locking down or out features and functions because they might lose out a buck on a transaction or the like. That tunnel vision has been Apple's handicap since inception, only by [IMO] it's combo of successfully targeted avertising, and uniquely ingenious easy interfacing have they conquered in recent years.
    2008 Ford Mustang GT/CS CARPC(99%)
    Software: Ride/Road-Runner, Digital FX skin 5.x, iGuidance 2011, GPSgate on Win7 64bit

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    • #3
      One thing that makes the tablet appealing is that its easy to install and easy to remove. Most people can easily grasp the concept that they can plug into the aux jack on their existing car stereo and do things. But most people have a hard time figuring out how to do a complete install. Secondly, buying a 300 tablet with a mount makes sense. Paying for a completely new system + installation could easily cost more.

      In short, tablets are easy and complete systems aren't.

      One drawback is that the tablet, because of it's removable nature, can't easily integrate with the car. It can, but it requires extra hardware. And if you take it out, you miss out on some awesome integration/automation tricks that you can do. This is why I think mp3car has something going with their plug computer idea. A dedicated and headless piece of hardware that integrates with your slate/phone is a very cool concept and one I'm trying to do in my own car. Something you plug in and it just works!
      Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
      Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
      Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

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      • #4
        I'd like to add is that tablets (usually) have GREAT, thin screens, and great responsive digitizer/capacitive touchscreens.

        Xenarc and Lilliput, in my view are overpriced garbage.
        Worklogs: 08 Sequoia Platinum Carputer (In Progress!)
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        07 Infiniti Fx35 (done!) & 06 Infiniti M35 (gone...)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tripzero View Post
          One thing that makes the tablet appealing is that its easy to install and easy to remove. Most people can easily grasp the concept that they can plug into the aux jack on their existing car stereo and do things.

          In short, tablets are easy and complete systems aren't.
          I differ there, sure they're inticing, but so were the ipod docking stations. I can't see the usual person that would really want a carPC, say: "wait, I'll just slap in a tablet in place of that carPC I wanted".

          Usually they're trying to achieve far more than a tablet device can offer in software and hardware interfacing.

          Originally posted by RipplingHurst
          Xenarc and Lilliput, in my view are overpriced garbage.
          I wouldn't go that far, but yes, they are far better looking and responding.
          2008 Ford Mustang GT/CS CARPC(99%)
          Software: Ride/Road-Runner, Digital FX skin 5.x, iGuidance 2011, GPSgate on Win7 64bit

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          • #6
            OH GOD, not another "The iPad is changing the Car PC world" thread. The iPad is not a Car PC, like another user said, its a glorified PDA. Yes its easy to use, yes it has tons of apps, but it will not come close to what a Car PC can do. Yes it may have instant on, but Win 7 has now given the Car PC that same feature with Hybrid sleep. Yes, you can take the iPad out, but if I really wanted to do that, I wouldn't have built a Car PC, which I feel should be flawlessly integrated into the car.

            As far as screens, I agree, Lilliput and Xenarc are very over priced, all though Lilliputs are much more affordable. I have a Lilliput as my main screen, which I have no choice because my bezel was designed for it, and changing it would be a pain. All the other screens are the VM70 screens, which go for $139.00 and thats with shipping within the USA. The screen works just as good as the Lilliput and has a better GUI. Another thing I like about the VM70 is that it comes with everything you need like the headrest covers. With Lilliput I would have had to spend $250.00 just to get a screen that has that ability, thats a rip off!

            PS: I agree with tripzero on the ability to control your car outside of the vehicle. Its interesting how people are taking different approaches to this idea. Most people are using the Sheva Plug, where as I'm going the simple route and allowing my car alarm to activate my car, control the windows, etc, but it also can turn on the Car PC and once powered up, I can control from my phone.
            Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

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            • #7
              Thanks for the heads up on the VM70. I just checked their website, and it's even cheaper now, at $139 with free shipping. Also, I see it auto-switches to AV2 for backup camera, which the Lilliputs don't. Cool.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Wayne613 View Post
                I differ there, sure they're inticing, but so were the ipod docking stations. I can't see the usual person that would really want a carPC, say: "wait, I'll just slap in a tablet in place of that carPC I wanted". Usually they're trying to achieve far more than a tablet device can offer in software and hardware interfacing.
                an ipod/iphone/n900 would never cut it IMHO. Screen size is a big factor there. These slate devices have a very pretty screen and is plenty large enough (sometimes too large depending on how big your car/dash is. If you drive a mini, there's no way that a 9/10" tablet makes any sense).

                Additionally, if the tablet has a usb host port, you can do anything that software allows and with the right software, can you think of anything your carpc does that this can't? Also the OS is built for the device, so you don't have to worry about slimming it down, getting drivers, etc to work and all that stuff. I think everyone agrees that getting software integrated and all working properly is a huge barrier to entry. That's something LinuxICE tried to help with an all-in-one-pre-setup-OS approach. But these devices are that, plus better integration and great hardware!

                PS: I agree with tripzero on the ability to control your car outside of the vehicle. Its interesting how people are taking different approaches to this idea. Most people are using the Sheva Plug, where as I'm going the simple route and allowing my car alarm to activate my car, control the windows, etc, but it also can turn on the Car PC and once powered up, I can control from my phone.
                That is a much simpler approach. Great idea! Your limited in what you can do until the CarPC comes on, but that's a very reasonable way to do it. Good thinking.
                Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
                Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
                Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ZX1Cruizer View Post
                  OH GOD, not another "The iPad is changing the Car PC world" thread. The iPad is not a Car PC, like another user said, its a glorified PDA. Yes its easy to use, yes it has tons of apps, but it will not come close to what a Car PC can do. Yes it may have instant on, but Win 7 has now given the Car PC that same feature with Hybrid sleep. Yes, you can take the iPad out, but if I really wanted to do that, I wouldn't have built a Car PC, which I feel should be flawlessly integrated into the car.

                  As far as screens, I agree, Lilliput and Xenarc are very over priced, all though Lilliputs are much more affordable. I have a Lilliput as my main screen, which I have no choice because my bezel was designed for it, and changing it would be a pain. All the other screens are the VM70 screens, which go for $145.00 and thats with shipping within the USA. The screen works just as good as the Lilliput and has a better GUI. Another thing I like about the VM70 is that it comes with everything you need like the headrest covers. With Lilliput I would have had to spend $250.00 just to get a screen that has that ability, thats a rip off!

                  PS: I agree with tripzero on the ability to control your car outside of the vehicle. Its interesting how people are taking different approaches to this idea. Most people are using the Sheva Plug, where as I'm going the simple route and allowing my car alarm to activate my car, control the windows, etc, but it also can turn on the Car PC and once powered up, I can control from my phone.
                  Read before you troll

                  This is about tablet hardware (not the iPad) replacing more traditional carPC hardware. In many cases identical hardware and software but in a smaller cheaper package.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kross View Post
                    Thanks for the heads up on the VM70. I just checked their website, and it's even cheaper now, at $139 with free shipping. Also, I see it auto-switches to AV2 for backup camera, which the Lilliputs don't. Cool.
                    I am not 100% sure on the reverse feature, because I don't use it. I know it has the wire but I think people have mentioned the wire is only there for looks. You may want to email short-circuit first and ask. They have great customer service so they will answer fairly fast.

                    Originally posted by tripzero View Post
                    an ipod/iphone/n900 would never cut it IMHO. Screen size is a big factor there. These slate devices have a very pretty screen and is plenty large enough (sometimes too large depending on how big your car/dash is. If you drive a mini, there's no way that a 9/10" tablet makes any sense).

                    Additionally, if the tablet has a usb host port, you can do anything that software allows and with the right software, can you think of anything your carpc does that this can't? Also the OS is built for the device, so you don't have to worry about slimming it down, getting drivers, etc to work and all that stuff. I think everyone agrees that getting software integrated and all working properly is a huge barrier to entry. That's something LinuxICE tried to help with an all-in-one-pre-setup-OS approach. But these devices are that, plus better integration and great hardware!

                    That is a much simpler approach. Great idea! Your limited in what you can do until the CarPC comes on, but that's a very reasonable way to do it. Good thinking.
                    I just don't like that these glorified PDAs are being held up as marvels of the universe. I will say that I do think that Android will get into the market because they are already doing it with GM, or at least trying.

                    I guess maybe I have a different view on what a tablet is. I think its a laptop, with full desktop capabilities, but can be taken with you and has a touchscreen. An iPad is not that at all. Now I do think that other companies will take advantage of Apples limitations and build nice tablets that have all the similar ports and stuff like a tablet.

                    Originally posted by justchat_1 View Post
                    Read before you troll

                    This is about tablet hardware (not the iPad) replacing more traditional carPC hardware. In many cases identical hardware and software but in a smaller cheaper package.
                    Well I see alot of iPad this flashing around so I assumed. My bad. Like I stated before I do think Android will have something similar to a real tablet pc, so i think that will make a niche in the market.

                    As far as being cheaper, I don't know about that one. Now a days PC components are pretty cheap to come buy. I would have to say its almost equal in price, but with a Car PC you can tack on so much other equipment.
                    Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tripzero View Post
                      One thing that makes the tablet appealing is that its easy to install and easy to remove. Most people can easily grasp the concept that they can plug into the aux jack on their existing car stereo and do things. But most people have a hard time figuring out how to do a complete install. Secondly, buying a 300 tablet with a mount makes sense. Paying for a completely new system + installation could easily cost more.
                      I don't know about "easy". My main goals were threefold: 1) removable, primarily for insertion into multiple vehicles maintaining identical functionality throughout, using it on the beach, rental car, aircraft, etc was just an added benefit; 2) portrait and landscape functionality in the cars with automatic switching; and 3) do everything a motherboard-based CarPC can do... and mine does but it wasn't "easy".

                      Originally posted by tripzero View Post
                      One drawback is that the tablet, because of it's removable nature, can't easily integrate with the car. It can, but it requires extra hardware. And if you take it out, you miss out on some awesome integration/automation tricks that you can do.
                      Have you seen my sig? They all require extra hardware! And when I take it out, I can take quite a bit with me. I demonstrated my CarPC in a bag at the last AFK Fest in Baltimore where I had GPS, music, videos, FM radio running on my tablet mounted in my rental car.

                      Originally posted by ZX1Cruizer View Post
                      I guess maybe I have a different view on what a tablet is. I think its a laptop, with full desktop capabilities, but can be taken with you and has a touchscreen. An iPad is not that at all.
                      Your definition is close (touchscreens are finally making a comeback to tablets since Bill Gates TabletPC Spec hasn't yielded the desired results).

                      Originally posted by ZX1Cruizer View Post
                      Now I do think that other companies will take advantage of Apples limitations and build nice tablets that have all the similar ports and stuff like a tablet.
                      I will tell you, its already happening, unfortunately, we won't see the full impact for a year or two.

                      Originally posted by ZX1Cruizer View Post
                      Yes, you can take the iPad out, but if I really wanted to do that, I wouldn't have built a Car PC, which I feel should be flawlessly integrated into the car.
                      You keep saying this about "flawlessly integrated", but I think you mean OEM-style/look installation. I think I have a flawless integration (OBDII, TPMS, V1, audio, video, phone, GPS and Internet, etc.) - OEM-style its not, but that, too, was intentional.
                      HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GizmoQ View Post
                        You keep saying this about "flawlessly integrated", but I think you mean OEM-style/look installation. I think I have a flawless integration (OBDII, TPMS, V1, audio, video, phone, GPS and Internet, etc.) - OEM-style its not, but that, too, was intentional.
                        Yes, that is what I mean. When you get in the car you do not immediately know a Car PC is there.
                        Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GizmoQ View Post
                          I don't know about "easy".
                          Not to sound like an ***, but is that example pic supposed to be indicative of an actually usable interface? It's horrid.

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                          • #14
                            I feel tablet pc's will be an in-between product for more techies and gadget freaks. It is hard to say how they will be mainstream, but for techies/geeks/freaks we can think of many uses and I can name a few -

                            1) Sporting Events. Being there is great, line of sight however unless you spend alot of money are horrible usually. Either with live streaming or with a tv tuner you could be at the game with your 7-12" screen and watch tv coverage.

                            Considering there's an Orb app for the Iphone/Ipod Touch, there's no reason to assume you can't use it the same way on your Ipad.

                            2) Remote Device/Monitor/Control. OBD-II control by Bluetooth, control CarPC from device, Tuning interface for software like Diablo, Superchips, Digital Horsepower, etc.

                            Of course all those places where a smart phone is too small and you really don't need the keyboard from your netbook or laptop pc.

                            Some people will try to use them in the car as a replacement for a standard head unit, but you run into many of the same problems when your talking about Car PC's and how it interfaces back into the car and I doubt anybody would leave their new $600-$700 Ipad in the dash of their car for every long, its just calling for a smash and grab thief.

                            Apple has an early advantage with the Ipad, but I feel Windows and Andriod based Tablets will allow for more diverse software to be programed for it. Besides, can you think of a better free Navigation system than Google Maps with Navigation?

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                            • #15
                              Now this is an idea..... Like what most people are doing with the iPhone, I think the iPad is best when used in conjunction with a PC. That will give it most of the features hardware wise. Now software wise to get the hardware to work, you then have to get into all that jail breaking stuff. I can easily see the iPad working that way. You wouldnt even need a screen for the PC, the iPad can do it instead? Maybe even a software like logmein? You could control the PC from the iPad and what not?
                              Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

                              1X Ainol Novo Flame Tab
                              4X MK808b
                              3x Perixx Touchpads
                              3x 7 inch Screens
                              1X 7 inch motorized Screen
                              1x Win 7 PC

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