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  • iPhone based carputer?

    Hi everyone.

    So I have been gradually putting together my shopping list for my carputer, lurking these forums amoung others and getting all my questions answered until I was pretty much at the point of making it happen, but then something happened......iPhone 3G was released in Australia...WooHoo!!

    So this has totally turned my macmini carputer idea on its head. So the question goes out to you all, anyone using their iPhone/iTouch as a full car media solution?

    The problem for me with the mini was dual outputs ie. music/with artwork in the front with movies for the kids in the back, not to mention the sub acceptable navigation options.

    The idea now is that both my wife and I will get an iPhone each and we will mount one in the front near the driver so it can be used for music (rotated into coverflow mode) and navigation (hopefully tomtom will release their GPS app soon,if not the maps app will suffice) while the other iphone is mounted in the back for the kids to control and output it to some screens in the back, either dual headrest or flip down from the roof.

    This way the kids can do what ever they want independent of the front.

    So the questions to the guru's:

    1. Issues you can foresee?
    2. Recomendations for mounts (i'm liking the Belkin TuneBase so far)
    3. Recomendations for screens (no need to be touchscreen because the interface will be on the phone itself
    4. Does anyone know if I buy a set of those Wireless FM headphones for the kids can they be tuned to pick up the transmission from the Belkin TuneBase or similar?

    I guess the key here is the mount. I needs it to be easy to 'slip' the phone in and out of each time we get in and out of the car, it needs to power/charge the phone, ability to turn from portrait/landscape mode, output video as well as audio (preferably audio line out as well as FM) and probably most important of all, it needs to shield out the GSM interference, ie need to be truly 'iPhone' compatable.

    So, any ideas

  • #2
    Issues: Tiny screen, Horrible GPS, Non Expandable, Low Storage

    I dont think your kids will apreciate a movie on a screen that they cant see.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

    Comment


    • #3
      ahhh, sorry I should have been clearer, there will be 2 iPhones, one in the front (music and maps mainly) and one in the back (for the kids movies). NOw the one in the back will only be used as an interface to start up movies but it will then be output to dual headrest screen or a 10' flip down screen, so dont worry about the 'screen they cant see'.

      Yeah I had considered the storage limitations but figured that being there will be 2 phones, that does kinda help, ie my phone wont need all my wife's (crap) Music vica versa and being that they will always be used also as ipods they will always have updated music on it, ie the stuff we are listening to now, not the 40Gigs of other stuff tht is in the itunes folder that we are not 'into' right now.

      Thx for the input though...cheers

      Comment


      • #4
        2k1 has a bias against Apple stuff but he's right. I don't see how this solves any of the points he raises. Do you really think you will be able to navigate to a destination using an iPhone that doesn't even call out turn by turn directions using voice? The screen may appear fine when you are just holding it but it will be a serious hazard trying to read and drive at the same time.

        In addition, while you may not think so, the non-expandable low storage aspects are major limitations for an in car device, particularly one that you want to use to show video on.

        my phone wont need all my wife's (crap) Music vica versa and being that they will always be used also as ipods they will always have updated music on it
        Why would you buy an iPhone and use it solely as an iPod? Why not buy the big 80 gig iPod and be done with it?

        Or, if you have two 10 inch screens why not buy an AppleTV for the kids in the back? It's cheaper, has a remote control and comes with enough storage for movies and music and photos plus will wirelessly synch itself without any effort from you.

        Don't take this as criticism, though, just some points to ponder. What works for you is exactly the right solution for you and if this setup will do it, then go for it although I think that you'll find the limitations of the system fairly quickly. Aside from the momentary 'coolness' factor, all you are really doing is connecting a couple of iPods to some screens. It's really more of an elaborate media player install rather than a carPC installation.
        Originally posted by ghettocruzer
        I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
        Want to:
        -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
        -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

        Comment


        • #5
          Thx Bugbyte, not critisisim at all, your comments are always welcome and the purpose of this thread was purely to let everyone 'shoot it down' with issues I may have not thought of so dont hold back

          I know the mapps app will be pretty useless until tomtom (or others) release a proper navigation app, which is sure to come, in fact there are options now for jailbroken phones. I guess the idea is wait for one of those to fill the navigation gap. The little iphone screen is only a bit littler then most dedicated gps units (at least here in OZ) where the bigests are only 4 or so inches. Also with the positioning of the iphone it will actually be fairly close so hopefully that will help as well.

          I guess what I was hoping to achieve was a media solution based on hardware I will already have (funds are very limited, spent it all on the car rather then what goes in it..doh) oh and I didn't mean that the iphones will be used only as an ipod, just that they will also be used as ipods, trying to kill a few birds with the one phone, sorry stone

          Thx everyone, like a said, this post was to identify issues so please dont worry about letting me know every issue you can think off, but please be nice...

          Comment


          • #6
            i think thats a decent idea...and to whoever was saying that who would want to watch a video on a small screen....you said they would be hooked up to monitors so thats not a problem...

            i think this solution works good for everything except gps..

            pros of this over traditional set ups..

            minimal time/effort to install

            easy to use to call people or look up a restaurant/call ahead to make reservations etc.

            nothing to get stolen cause you take it with you.

            i think this is a decent solution for someone on a tight buget
            Macbook Pro- OSX/Vista Ultimate - 2.16 cd 1.5gb ram 100gb hd
            Macbook- OSX/Vista Ultimate/Ubuntu - 2.4 c2d 2gb ram 160gb hd

            8gb iphone
            8gb ipod touch

            Comment


            • #7
              I dont have a bias towards Apple. Once they come out with a good product for a reasonable price and dont blatently lie in its advertising, then I will buy one.

              And as for being a good solution to a tight budget, only so if you already have them. But for the price of a phone, you can get a normal PC. For the price of 2 you can get a whole CarPC with screen.
              Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
              1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
              30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
              15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
              Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

              Comment


              • #8
                Once they come out with a good product for a reasonable price and dont blatently lie in its advertising, then I will buy one.
                is that a long winded way of saying never?
                check us out at: www.neonboombox.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by NeonDev View Post
                  is that a long winded way of saying never?
                  Is that a short way of saying that apple products are overpriced and lie in their advertising?

                  But seriously, I will buy one of their products if they cut the crap, stop spewing lies on tv, and make something innovative.

                  The one thing Apple is really really good at is hype. Only Apple can take something as mundane as a cell phone using technology that it did not create, did not innovate over, and that has been around since the turn of the millinium, and market it successfully for $600 as its own and have people actually believe it. Sort of makes me weep for the future and the sheepish minds that will believe it, but never the less, best part of Apple there.

                  And I am not a Microsoft fanboy or anything either. I dont have a Zune or whatever it is called since it is pretty worthless too compared to better lower cost more feature packed models as well.

                  I pretty much have no allegiance to any company or brand, I just buy what is good.
                  Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                  1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                  30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                  15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                  Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is that a short way of saying that apple products are overpriced and lie in their advertising?
                    yes. but the sad fact of the matter is all companies have marketing departments and all marketers are liars. I use and for the most part enjoy and am happy to use apple products but lately I just wanna kick them hard in the butt. Leopard and iPhone bugs are really driving me over the edge.

                    If it weren't for the horrendous amount of bugs it has, i would try and disagree with you about the iPhone not being worth the hype. I feel that perhaps a miracle software update could fix most/all of them, but I won't get my hopes up.

                    So back to the original topic. I think the iPhone is a horrible thing to use in the car if nothing more than for the constant crashing/rebooting. It might could work if they fixed that and had turn by turn (not that macs have that themselves), and you had a good mounting system that didn't encumber use yet held the phone securely and at a comfortable angle.

                    Also I was not sure that the iPhone had video out. is it through the headphone jack like the iPods or through the dock connector?
                    check us out at: www.neonboombox.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      NeonDev-from what I have worked out (note I do not have the iPhones yet) I beleive that the iphone originally was unable to output video, until the v.2.0 software update, and it is through the dock connector.

                      You bring up a good point about the crashing, I had not even considered it. Is it that bad? I am a 'tweaker' so I will constantly be playing with settings, installing/uninstalling apps hacks etc, here i was thinking (2k1 this is for you ;-) it is a mac product so it would just work and never crash....wink wink.

                      I know the phones are expensive, I just want to be clear here, my wife an I will be getting them anyway, not only for the car set up, so it will be cheaper then getting dedicated hardware and custom installing etc.

                      So does anyone have any recommendations for an amazing cradle/charger, audio/video output, non bluetooth handsfree car kit?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You bring up a good point about the crashing, I had not even considered it. Is it that bad? I am a 'tweaker' so I will constantly be playing with settings, installing/uninstalling apps hacks etc
                        yes it is that bad. my phone will spontaneously reboot or exit to the home screen quite frequently while using applications. even rebooted once during a call. I can say with absolute certainty that it is the most unstable finicky OS since the classic mac OS (ah the days when I hated macs). It is also known that the more applications you have installed the more unstable it gets so that explains why I have alot of issues while others have none.

                        steve has promised that 2.1 software update out tomorrow will completely solve this instability, but we will see.
                        check us out at: www.neonboombox.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i am still against the idea of using the iphone as the backbone of the carputer but it can be done as demonstrated here [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiD0Cyt8QYc[/media] This guy obviously has lots of money to throw at the system which is why he was able to get it all working. good luck on replicating
                          Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            yes I saw that corvette guy's set up, not quite what I am looking for because the screen is so far away and requires you to take your eyes off the road for a bit too long IMO. my ciggy adapter is in a really weird spot, in fact when I saw it I thought it was the stupiest place in the whole car to put it but after a bit of thought it will work out perfect for me (if this iphone idea come to fruition) because it is basically just behind the steering wheel so with one of those 'gooseneck' cradles it will bring it up to almost the same place as the current stereo (or where a 7in' touch screen would go)

                            Yes we will see if the 2.1 release tomorrow will help. Neon Dev I would love to hear your thoughts on the 2.1 and if it does significantly help with the crashing

                            cheers

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              so it does appear as tho 2.1 has solved the crashing/rebooting issues. I have only had one reboot since moving to 2.1 and it was a known issue with winterboard on a jailbroken phone
                              check us out at: www.neonboombox.com

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