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  1. Hardware Review: CustomGadz X2 Module for Android

    by , 09-23-2012 at 01:55 PM

    What is it?

    The CustomGadz X2 Module meshes the smartphone to the car PC, allowing for user-friendly control of an Android-powered car PC through a larger touchscreen monitor.

    The Verdict:

    The CustomGadz X2 Module is the ultimate way to make your smartphone your everyday car PC. Simply plugging in an HDMI cable from your phone to a monitor transforms your vehicle into an Android-powered experience.



    Description:

    The world of do-it-yourself in-car entertainment has recently seen a paradigm shift. The days of finding a space for a typical mITX motherboard and power supply are seemingly being phased out. Instead, more and more individuals are creating ways to install different forms of low cost, power sipping computing solutions. The most popular of these options going into automobiles these days are the Android powered tablet displays. The benefit of an entertainment setup such as this is easy to see at the surface. You get an instantly-on operating environment that is tailored specifically for touch screen usage. Most of the worries of destroying car batteries are a thing of the past, and a tablet device of any quality is going to have a display which is capable of viewing in all levels of sunlight.

    The challenge when dealing with this form of car PC is installation, particularly for a person who has already dipped into a car PC installation in the past. The very nature of a sleek, slim mobile device which essentially does it all can be quite the chore to wedge into a modern automobile console. Every tablet comes in its own shape and size, making a car friendly docking solution somewhat unachievable. So with these issues raised, what solution does an individual have when craving Android but cringing at the thought of taking an expensive tablet and hacking away to make it work in a dash?


    Enter the CustomGadz X2 Module. Based closely on the Mimics iPhone module, the X2 eases installation hassles by allowing Android control through dash-friendly 7 touchscreen display. The brain of an X2 operated car PC is your HDMI-capable smartphone. Once configured, the X2 Android module allows users to control their smartphone from a dash installed touchscreen. The X2 plugs into the touchscreen ribbon cable found in the screen housing, and uses Bluetooth technology to translate those presses to the smartphone. With X2 module installed, having a car PC is as simple as plugging the HDMI cable from your smartphone to your touchscreen monitor.


    The X2 is essentially the link that allows users to experience the same friendly user interface whether in or out of the vehicle. Other obvious benefits are the available mobile data connection, and the amazing capabilities of built-in Android applications. Users get Google music, navigation, and voice control. These are applications that car PC users have been searching long and hard for when installing Windows-based solutions. Users also get a system that is entirely portable, and easily powered, as the X2 only requires a 5v signal and your Android can be powered with an everyday automotive charge cable.


    As one can imagine, the many flavors of Android demands some configuration before the X2 becomes a perfect option. Quite honestly, configuration was somewhat confusing, especially having tested on the base X2 module with the adapter for my 4-wire Lilliput touchscreen. Essentially, configuration requires connecting the device to a PC running custom terminal program. Users must also connect an external button and LED light (neither are included with the base X2 package) and enter button presses to correspond to the commands the application dictates. Once configured, the X2 module must then be calibrated through the combination of a downloadable Android app and another combination of button presses and led flashes. While a tad bit tedious, the entire process is well documented in the installation manual.


    The other obvious drawback to the current version of the X2 Android device is the compatibility is limited in both touchscreen monitors and Android smartphones. Be sure to check the device compatibility list before purchasing. Ultimately, the X2 Android device allows a new group of car PC user, those who don't want to fabricate and destroy dashboards to achieve all the things a car PC can be.

    The Positive:

    Allows instant control of your smartphone through a larger display
    Instant control response, no delay after presses
    Auto-power on/off
    Touchscreen presses are mirrored from both touchscreen and smartphone
    Included software walks you through touchscreen calibration
    Easy to power


    The Negative:

    Configuration and calibration are a chore
    Limited compatibility with Android smartphones
    Multi-Touch capabilities of android aren't available on most touchscreen monitors
    Base module does not include required adapters and add-ons

    The Verdict:

    The CustomGadz X2 Module is the ultimate way to make your smartphone your everyday car PC. Simply plugging in an HDMI cable from your phone to a monitor transforms your vehicle into an Android-powered experience.

    For more on the process of calibrating the X2 module with your touchscreen check out this video.

    Updated 09-23-2012 at 07:41 PM by Sonicxtacy02

    Categories
    Product Reviews
  2. Mimics Delight - Jailbreakme.com Released

    by , 07-07-2011 at 01:17 PM

    Yesterday marks the release of the 3rd 'userland' jailbreak for the iOS family. A userland jailbreak allows an iOS user to install Cydia (the hack app store) by simply visiting jailbreakme.com. So all those awaiting your pre-sale Mimics can get ready for your install by just visiting that link and downloading the "Mimics Driver" app from Cydia.

    This jailbreak is good for anyone using an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or iPad 2 running the latest 4.3.3 firmware. If you aren't on 4.3.3, feel free to update as normal in iTunes, even if you are already jailbroken and just wish to update. Note: you will want to back up your Cydia apps if you are upgrading from a previously jailbroken device. As always, backup your phone with iTunes before jailbreaking.

    Happy Jailbreaking.
  3. Introducing Mimics. The ultimate iPhone-in-your-car experience

    by , 05-19-2011 at 02:53 PM

    Mimics Dash allows you to operate an iPhone via a touch screen monitor installed in your vehicle. After installing Mimics Dash, simply plug your iPhone in each time you enter your vehicle and enjoy the convenience of all of your iPhone's apps, music, phone, and navigation features on a safe, easy-to-use touch screen monitor. By bridging the gap between your iPhone and your car, Mimics becomes the ultimate in-car entertainment system.

    Here's how it works: The touch interface is interpreted by the module and transmitted via Bluetooth to your iPhone. Genius! Now you can control your phone from the monitor! The Module draws power from the Lilliput monitor, and video is supplied to the monitor via the Apple HDMI dock connector (optional). Audio is supplied to your aftermarket amplifier* via the 3.5mm jack on your iPhone (optional). Choose the Mimics Cable Option and we'll give you all of the necessary cables needed to get video and audio out from your phone and be able to charge while driving.

    Made specifically for your vehicle, Mimics Dash is engineered to be an easy install (or have your local car stereo shop do it for you):
    1. Remove your existing dash panel
    2. Install the Mimics Dash
    3. Install an aftermarket amplifier* of your choice
    4. Connect the Mimics Cable kit and you're ready to go

    Pre Order NOW
    Everything you wanted to know about Mimics
    Talk about Mimics in our forums





    Comments

    Updated 05-22-2011 at 12:47 AM by optikalefx

    Categories
    Products and Technology