My god I leave my thread for one day and its grown by like 3 pages lmao. Honestly I see most of the points you guys are trying to put out. I agree that yeah, eventually there are going to be HU that out of the box do what our CarPC's are doing now but with much more limitations. Bottom line is for the most part eventually there will be something like it, and when that time comes whoever is still into this hobby will still be several steps ahead with much newer and better technology. If you have to wait for someone to do it for you, you will always be behind.
I played with Centrafuse and I must say its a breeze and everything works. I still think I am going to end up keeping and using RR just because of money and I have much more freedom of customization with RR. As far as my first post...you all were right I am not done with CarPC. Just needed to take a breath and hit this thing with a better plan of what I wanted instead of just throwing something together without thought and hoping to have something I would be happy with. I now have a better screen that I can read, my dash fit it perfect and I am content, its just time to make my own skin that suits me with controls in the place I want them and I will be good to go.
I think we have all beaten this into submission, so I'll close the thread.
Actually, this thread was really useful to me because a lot of folks weighed in with their opinions about the future of the hobby and I think I agree with most of them.
As moderator I get the opportunity to have last words, so I'll put them here.
Regarding my post on the death of the car PC, I still stand by my assertion that the actual computing hardware is becoming less and less important and that the focus has been more and more on software. By that I mean the actual CPU/storage systems. Specialized hardware like Fusion Brain and TPMS are not included. It is dead simple to install a PC in the car these days.
Whether Alpine or Sony or whoever ships HU's with PC capabilities or not doesn't matter. The hobby is about mobile computing. Sorry that we haven't set out some kind of mission statement as a forum on that, but if you've been around for awhile, I think you'll agree that the description fits.
My opinion only, of course, but going forward I think we'll see (surprise!) a continued evolution of what has been happening all along, improvements in the ease of customizing mobile functionality. Look at the plug-in section for RR for a clue of what many of us are up to. Trapster downloads, traffic information and cameras, tire pressure monitoring, controlling the car environment from the touchscreen and customizing the control mechanisms for the PC's.
I am firmly convinced that as prices for handsets and data plans drop, this hobby will move from a focus on in car software to net-based software and users will be able to customize their own software experience rather than simply the interface. Adding a capability will be simpler and simpler and require less and less attention to the hardware configuration. The lines of distinction between what you access on the net and what is actually on the PC in your car will become increasingly blurred until it is essentially meaningless to the user.
I think that affords MORE opportunity to innovate for this community, not less. If HU manufacturers are trying to recreate the car PC experience for mass market consumers, I say go ahead. That really has little or nothing to do with us except that it spurs continued innovation by our community to keep moving ahead.
Frankly, I don't see a dead end to this hobby. Just like amateur radio, cheap and readily available consumer hardware doesn't make it less interesting. There's more room than ever for better innovation.