All the best in your next adventure, you will be missed.
Now as a business, I disagree to some extent. You are absolutely correct in your last two statements about the overall size and growth potential of the "hobby" carPC market. It's not going to change, other than gradually shrink as auto makers start to include all the stuff we like straight from the factory. But as I pointed out before, I actually do make money in the carPC business, and if I chose to do it full-time, could probably make a pretty nice living at it. It's most definitely a "niche" market, but I think there are a number of niches available that haven't been fully explored and which could be quite profitable for the right entrepreneur. Race and rally systems, public service/safety systems in small or rural communities. The previously mentioned show and exotic car systems. And all of these ideas work pretty well as a regional business model, meaning that the national market can probably support several moderately-sized players.
But I guess we'll see, won't we? The next couple of years should tell the tale of what this hobby (and the businesses that surround it) will look like.
How many without technical knowledge know about mini-ITX, or even of those, that DC-DC powersupplies specific to this purpose exist? And that list could go on. Who for that matter even came to this site that wasn't already looking for this as a possible solution?
This site and those like it are still, relatively speaking, obscure in comparison to say Crutchfield and the like. Even in the car audio sections of large name sites, how often is this as a solution or request even seen?
Let me add this also.... Yes maybe OEM cars are ahead right now, but we can easily close the gap. Take a look at this post. http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/gene...ml#post1421649 Watch the videos of what is being done with XBox Kinect. Now image this in a car environment, it will give us a bunch of features. See with a Car PC setup you can adapt and change, and add functions.
Just a quick two cents - mainly addressing cost issues. Have you priced the navigation/entertainment systems in new cars? Even those that come stock cause a huge price premium over same car without the high-tech system. This is the car companies trying to recoup some of their development costs and yes, the prices will continue to drop in the future.
However, my system cost less than the cables to hook it all up and does more than any manufacturer's in-built system I am aware of (audio, video, GPS, internet, phone, back-up camera, etc...) and I can always add more capabilities if I want them. Yes, there were technical difficulties and lots of time spent with hardware/software issues, but for me and possibly many of us here at MP3Car, this is the fun. With the abilities of computers constantly increasing, but our needs for in-car usage remaining relatively stagnant, everyone should be able to afford a home-brewed carputer from parts that are being relegated to the trash or recycling bins.
Where I see the problem is that as the manufacture's prices drop in newer cars, there will be little incentive to install a carputer. However, I currently drive an '02 Civic and didn't have that as an option. There are still more older cars on the road that need carputers than new cars on the road that already have them....
Cheers and lets keep MP3Car going with discourse and development. After all, where do you think the manufacturer's got their ideas from in the first place?