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Thread: Where are we headed?

  1. #31
    FLAC SNOtwistR's Avatar
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    We are not the only one's trying to figuire it out, http://www.m2mnow.biz/2013/11/10/163...nnial-demands/ SNO

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Champak View Post
    Personally, I think if windows had an android virtualization everything would be perfect. That way the same way Mac can run windows stuff, windows can run android stuff. That one lack to me is stagnating this whole feature from this moving forward or keeping up with the automotive industry on a mass level.
    Not sure if it has been said before, but some guys have been making inroads with an x86 Android packages.

    www.android-x86.org/

    Personally though I am hanging out for Windows 9 beta to drop.

    I think the Car PC will be here to stay and I believe it will only become more mainstream as the technology evolves. With advances in x86 Android, or the convergence of the Windows kernel and OS the choices we will have let alone car manufacturers... What you guys do may be a bit of a hobby, but I think it will become big business.

    Also the advances in hardware such as the intel's bay trail and AMD's Kaveri/Bemma/Mullins the options are so diverse, and not to mention SSD prices are at an all time low.

    I am a complete noob when it comes to the world of car pc's, but at the moment Subaru make a pitiful double din sat-nav and a Car Pc makes perfect sense.

  3. #33
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    Anyone watch the Android Auto section of the Google I/O keynote? Seems very interesting. One problem that's kept me away from using a tablet is sound quality. It appears that you'll be able overlay android in a window on a headunit that supports it. If that means you can use your headunit for things like playing music where sound quality matters, and android for everything else, that would be end game for me.

  4. #34
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    I think the carpc market will stay niche as it always has been. Certainly some carpc projects are outclassed by todays infotainment systems, but that doesn't mean they all are. At the end of the day I'll be more satisfied with something homebrew that does exactly what I want it to do than settling for whatever OEM solution exists. Now if they were to start putting computers with full fledged os's in, that might be a killing blow to the diy movement (eventually.)

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    I have been reading and following this forum for years and I am finally building a pc for my truck. Like a lot of others that have posted on this thread, I am building my truck pc for several reasons... The main reason, as some have mentioned above, is that I can build it to do as I want it to do and then easily upgrade the items as technology advances. The second reason is the pleasure I get out of building things myself; I like knowing I have been built something as good as if not better than what you can get from the factory...

    But back to the question at hand... I think there are several things that could be done to reinvigorate the site and draw more people in...

    Like mentioned above, you need to change and flow with the times... The article in the link that SNOtwistR posted gives a lot of good insight as to what the next generation is looking for in their daily lives. When you first started this site "mp3Car" was an appropriate fitting name for it but times are changing. To draw in the next generation of thinkers / tinkerers you need something to catch their attention, something that is forward thinking... Why not come up with a new site name using words like "Smart Integration", "Mobile Connectivity", "In-car Technology" or "Mobile Integrated Technology" to name a few??? When I was first looking to build my trucks pc I almost passed up this site thinking it was just about mobile HiFi systems.

    Secondly, you need to updated the site itself... The site is all about technology and integrating it into your vehicle right, well show it off. Why not redesign the front page and make it animated or interactive? Why not show an animated and interactive vehicle with a carPC in it and then have a finger touch the PC screen several times... One time it opens the doors and then the next time it pops the truck of the car, etc... Then make it interactive, have it so that if you touch the sensors on the bumper of the vehicle a small inset photo pops up showing how it is integrated into the carPC. You could do the same for the backup camera, the tire air pressure monitor, the engine with the OBD integration, etc... You could show a pop up that shows what each item with look like on the carPC monitor. Add some mp3 music in the back ground to incorporate that aspect of the hobby into it... Have it so if you click on the carPC a screen pops up and gives you several song selections to choose from. As it is now when you click onto the home page it shows articles about varies reviews of hardware and software with each article spaced about 4 months apart with the exception of June and July. This makes one believe that the owner of the site doesn't update it much. (We all know differently though :-) It takes a lot to keep peoples attention these days...

    Also you need to advertise this site on sites like Tomshardware.com and other sites like it. Sites with PC building hobbyists and or sites with software developing hobbyists on them. Every software developer I know loves a good challenge. It's all about making people aware of what's out there. Just Google "DIY carputer" and look at all the people who are looking for information on building these PC's on so many other sites that aren't geared for them, these people ask questions concerning carPC's with no one having answers for them.

    Just a few thoughts and observations...

    Don

  6. #36
    FLAC SNOtwistR's Avatar
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    Well said Ruffone and Welcome to the forum! I can see you will be a valued member with the quality of your 1st post. Good luck on your project and be sure to start a worklog so other can follow along SNO

  7. #37
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    @ruffone - great post. Lots of good points. I won't presume to answer for the owners of mp3car.com, but I face many of the same issues that they do. Here's just a few:

    1. Branding - you spend years developing your brand and establishing yourself in the market. Mp3Car.com has certainly achieved that in the carPC/DIY market and that's a testament to the quality of information, hard work put in by the staff, and active forums and membership. While changing the name to perhaps "better" reflect the times might be beneficial, I'm not entirely sure its needed. Apple, Google, Yahoo etc. all have meaningless names with regards to their primary business activity. Yes, they are infinitely better known than mp3car.com in general terms, but not necessarily in the market in which mp3Car operates. If you're interested in doing a carPC, you are going to wind up on mp3Car.com sooner rather than later, and I don't think the name hinders that process.
    2. Creating a more interactive site - money. Although it may not be immediately obvious to the casual user, mp3Car.com is a business. And as a business, it has to weigh return on investment. So if money is spent to redesign the site, would that translate into increased revenue? That's always a difficult one to answer, since there are a lot of variables and it can be difficult to establish a direct one to one correlation. Even if you were able to get the work done for free, you still face the likelihood of service interruptions, performance issues and a lengthy debugging process which is never any fun.
    3. Advertising -see item 2. Of course, there's always "guerilla marketing", but you have to be careful and obey the rules. When people post on other sites, you can go in and answer questions, mentioning mp3car.com along the way. But most forums have rules about spamming and linking to other sites, so you have to be polite.

    Lest I seem all "Debbie Downer" here, I really do like your ideas, and I would very much like to see some of them happen. I think it would be a good thing for new users just like you suggest. And I want to emphasize that I don't have any unique insight into the specifics of mp3Car.com. But my experience running Centrafuse.com for the last couple of years has given me a pretty good understanding of the expenses involved and how changes can impact revenue. Figure out how to address the costs, and you might see it happen.

  8. #38
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    I was reading a few comments and felt inspired to give my $0.02
    Is the carpc market dead/dying? Probably... But in my opinion, I think it is for the very reason given by the OP.
    When I decided to get my first carPC, I did it in a 2010 dodge charger because my pioneer double din GPS was decent but I wanted a bigger screen than 7" (I was inspired after seeing the entertainment unit in my bro's Ford F150 HD edition). Some of the things I wanted was, music, GPS, phone and everything else was gravy.

    I think the biggest issue with the CarPC is, it's ok at a ton of things but not good one thing.

    I still have a carPC in my car, now a honda accord. But there is not many times when I didn't think about ripping that damn thing out. Thankfully I'm sort of a weird die-hard of carpc, even if I really shouldn't, because my knowledge is probably not good enough to make it wise in the wallet. When I started, I realized the potential of the carPC. I ripped my charger's head unit out and replaced everything!! I had a carpc with GPS, dashcommand OBD, HD radio, Sirius, 2 x 4ch relay, aux audio selector, RGB led unit, webcam, microphone... The only thing I can say is, what a waste of money!! My carpc would crash more times than I can remember, most of the time for no reasons at all. I'm not sure why, but days my monitor would stop working, some days a program gave up, others it was a hardware. I rarely went more than 3-4 months without something failing, even without touching or modifying anything. This would lead me with nothing for weeks while I rip everything out to test it more at home... It never ended. Now with my accord, I simply "added" the carpc to the aux line in of my existing audio system and kept it to the minimum (HDD, GPS, OBD). Well, you guessed it, it's currently out of the car, the monitor stopped working properly and now something is acting up from my digital video source. Who knows... maybe it was the cold... who knows....

    Long story short, the issue is, I think a lot of active users here and silent ones (those who don't post but look here for info) are similar to me. They want something cool like a carPC, but they are not electrical engineer or programmers. They try it out, and eventually give up. In my opinion is because there is no consistency in this carpc world. Everyone has a different setup, so although we can help each other out as best as we can, we'll always face unique problems, and it's those problems that will discourage a regular joe, like me, to keep investing more time, and $ into it.

    Like mitch always told me, pc's are just not made for cars. And that's really the first problem. In order for it to work perfectly, it would have to be designed from the ground up, and not just some work around... If we did that, we'd be no different than the newer car entertainment systems out there.

    It's too bad though, really.. There really is so much potential in this market but even after seeing some of the work out there, we're still so far behind for any "useful" features that actually works 100%

  9. #39
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    I think the biggest reason for car PC crashes is from not using industrial rated components.

    My home PC crashes more than my carpc but I went with a low power mobile i7, an industrial rated board and used the msata sad that screws down to the mobo for a more stable vibration resistant connection. Low power means low heat, and greater stability.

    I think I could have bought even better rated memory too.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeunefred View Post
    I was reading a few comments and felt inspired to give my $0.02...
    It's funny, but I think you're pretty much right on the money with this. I run Centrafuse on a tablet, attached to my head unit. It runs perfectly, every single day, and has for many months now. BUT...I don't ask much of it. I don't use it for BT hands-free (there has never been a reliable PC-based answer for this), I use the head unit, and it works flawlessly. I don't have any USB peripherals attached. I do have a BT OBDII dongle and it works great. I rarely use navigation (I don't take my truck out of town any more), but I have the PC Navigator plugin and it is sufficient. I do use several streaming media apps and they work without issue as well. My point is that everything works well, but I'm not asking it to do anything that any well-equipped modern head unit couldn't do. I think RR and Driveline would be much the same...don't get too extreme, and they will provide reliable service on a daily basis.

    But I think many, many carPC users fall victim to unrealistic expectations. They think (or are led to believe) that they can build very complex systems, involving a lot of varied hardware and software, modify there configurations at will and they will still get the kind of reliability and ease of use of a typical "all-in-one". Getting in "over your head" is pretty common in all hobbies, but it's particularly easy to do when it comes to putting together computers, software and hardware. I can describe a Centrafuse installation that will work right out of the box, be very close to 100% reliable and provide months if not years of worry free use. But you can not deviate from my instructions at all, and you can not modify your installation at all...ever. Hmmm, sounds just like an OEM or aftermarket unit, right? If reliability is your number one concern, then that's what you have to do. If expandability and experimentation are your priority, then understand that reliability will suffer.

    I think what's good about this market right now is that there is room for both consumer-focused products, and products aimed at the DIY or enthusiast markets. Some folks just want a product they can customize and "tune" to their particular tastes, while other want to be able to get under the hood and make it work any way they want. I don't know that any one product can do both well, but you never know. The hardware situation is better in many ways than I've ever seen it. The introduction of the NUC form-factor is bringing tons of small, low-cost systems to the market that are ideal for a carPC platform. There are some really neat chipsets out there offering DAB/DAB+/FM RDS and Bluetooth along with the proliferation of Arduino and Raspberry solutions. Call me an optimist, but I think the next year might be pretty exciting for the carPC market.

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