Agreed, I'm going to start soon myself. The combination of the 7" vga with the rising maturity of the EPIA motherboards has me convinced. Plus I need a new project.
I'm a long-time lurker (first registered Oct 2001) on this board, but I haven't actually done anything carputer-related yet. The main reason is that I would want such a big project (in terms of dollars and time) to last for several years. I didn't see carputer technology as "mature" yet, and I don't plan on keeping my current car ('95 Accord EX 4dr) more than another year or two.
The question of what car to replace the Accord with is obviously not one for this forum. The question of whether carputer tech is mature certainly is.
Most people buy technology either a) when they want it, or b) when they need it. If I had an "a" personality, I would be broke. If I were a "b", I would never have any fun gadgets that aren't strictly necessary but enhance my life. Instead, I try to time my buying so that I get maximum use out of my gadgets, making sure that I will actually use them and they will stand the test of time.
I could have built a carputer back in the day when they were dedicated mp3 players on expensive single-board-computers (SBCs) with tiny (sometimes backlit!) character-based LCD screens. But it would have been quite expensive in terms of money and time, and boy would I feel the need to upgrade now.
Which brings me to my question: if I were to put together a nice carputer now, would I want to make major modifications to it within the next couple of years?
Here's my analysis of the different technologies involved and how they may change:
Screens - 7" VGA touchscreens are a HUGE step up from character-based LCDs. As I see it, the only thing they'll do in the next couple of years is gain in brightness, contrast, and resolution (and, of course, decreasing in cost).
Power - Opus solutions are expensive, but should last a long time. I don't anticipate much of a rise in power needs for basic carputer features (music, movies, GPS, networking, etc.).
Processors - will constantly change, but the big leap in processing-power-per-watt seems to have been made with the C3 series. I foresee no must-have features that would require more processing power.
Storage - will get bigger and cheaper, but new codecs will mean that an old hard drive can still hold tons of music and a couple of movies (enough for me!)
Peripherals - GPS isn't too likely to require huge changes until they send up the next generation of satellites. Wireless networking will continue to evolve, but will probably retain backwards-compatibility with 802.11b since it's so popular. Input devices seem pretty mature with touchscreens and tiny keyboards. ODBII stuff is car-specific.
Software - will get better and better, retaining its compatibility.
Seems to me like now is a pretty good time to start buying some of this stuff. What do you think?
Any comment on this? I'm curious where other people think carputer technologies are going. I know a lot of you are constantly upgrading with the "latest and greatest," but I'd rather not play that game.
Now that we've got XP in the car, it seems to me that the next step is improving software and ease-of-use. ME 2.0 seems like it will be a big step forward.
Power is the limit to most setup.
If you want the setup to last for the next couple years, the power supply must support today hardwares and stuff.
ye we'll see. you gonna bring it out?Originally Posted by jbors
i thought along these lines once, when it came to buying electronics such as digi-cams etc, but what i realised was, if the current technology is within my budget, and it serves my needs, and the majority of my wants, then "now is the time" to buy it. If you keep waiting and waiting, you'll have spent all this time without it, whereas other people have had many years of use out of their items. Take my first digi-cam, its a 1.3MegaPixel sony, i got it at a great price, it served my needs for several years, but looking at today, who in their right mind would want a 1.3MP digicam bigger than a shoe? but, i have taken alot of photo's since i bought it (yes, i have upgraded, lol) if i had've waited, i would have missed two years worth of photo opportunities without my good old 1.3MP camera.Instead, I try to time my buying so that I get maximum use out of my gadgets, making sure that I will actually use them and they will stand the test of time.
Same with PC technology, sure, you can keep waiting and waiting, but while you wait, you dont get to enjoy what you may one day have. In another two years, PC technology will be even better, but be stuffed if i'll miss out on 2 years worth of voice nav and movies in my car....
if it serves your needs now, is in budget, and does most of what you want it too, now is the time to buy, if it doesnt, then wait, and if you wait more than 2 years, you really didnt need it in the first place.
Which one would you buy ?Originally Posted by Cat Monkey