Well I have 2 cents burning a hole in my pocket....
I think the carPC hobby/business in general has suffered from a severe identity crisis from it's very inception. It has always attempted to deliver the underliverable: The promise of "virtually" unlimited capabilities/expansion with the convenience and performance of fixed-function hardware devices at a consumer-friendly price. At the start, the benchmark was "all-in-one" units like those from Pioneer, Clarion or the Chinese knockoffs. Lately, its all about iPhones, iPads and Android.
From a retail consumer perspective, the size of this market will never allow hardware prices to reach a competitive level. There is simple not enough volume to allow for commodity pricing. YES, open source hardware/software "may" prove to be less expensive than an equivelent windows system, but both of them will always be more expensive that a comparable 'all-in-one", and more difficult to install and configure. And what, exactly, are we trying to deliver beyond what is already available? Internet connectivity? Social media access? How many months do you think we have left before Visteon, or Pioneer or Panasonic provides that type of connectivity in a mass-produced head unit? (Hint: zero). OBDII connectivity? Sure, but what percentage of users view that as the single motivating factor in their purchase decision? 1%? 2%?
My point is this: This hobby is already out on the fringe, so rather than trying to drive towards the middle, we should turn around and head for the edge! iPads, tablets, smartphones and mainstream manufacturers will dominate the middle and there will be no oxygen available for little guys. At the end of the day, we are using general-purpose computing devices. Their (IMO) ultimate superior value is their unlimited potential. If I have the desire, time, talent and money, I can do anything. I am not bound by the marketing/profit/design concerns of Verizon, Samsung or Steve Jobs. If I want to go insane (like HijackZX1) and put a dozen independent screens in my vehicle, Great! If I want the smallest possible footprint and uber-cool open source wizardry, I go the OM/igep route. The thing is, there is no competition from the middle. Nobody is trying to stake out this ground. It is wide open for innovation and experimentation.
The things that make this hobby fun for me will probably never be available in the mainstream, and the things that make the mainstream attractive will always be cheaper than they are out here on the fringe. Simple economy of scale. I'm comfortable with that. Do I think we can get closer to the "perfect" system. Sure. Do I think 2 people can agree on what "perfect" is without one of them stepping forward to "help" the other understand why his vision is the best? Nope. Will any of them match my idea of perfect? Only if I'm the guy doing the "helping" :whoo: -VegasGuy
Best wishes to Heather. As the Irish say....
“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”