Check my worklog:
Corsa + Atom + Gentoo Linux + 9" capacitive touchscreen
Lord of the boards: DFI CP100-NRM
"Or you can try Ubuntu, but than don't tell everyone you are using linux,
because it's just a secret unreleased prebeta of Windows 3829" :P
I already said back in September 09 after two car pc install in the last 5 years that Android (for me the Archos 5 with 500 GB and mobile access point with 3g sim card) is the way to go - small, battery driven, energy efficient, fast, large buttons for interface, all-in with fm, wifi, bluetooth, 3g, gps etc.
No more reason to spend hundres of $ for hardware and software and still not having an instant-on and all-in solution.
Looking forward for more Android tablets, phones, media players...
Guys, you're forgetting about Nintendo emulators (zSNES, Project 64, etc) and game controller use! That's priceless for a long roadtrip.
With regards to the hobbyist aspect of the whole deal, i completely agree. The last year and a half or two (up until about a month ago), my car PC has been non-functioning. My temporary solution was to use my phone (Blackberry Curve, which has decent media capability, including pandora streaming) plugged into my head unit's aux port. Sure, this was easy and it worked...but that's just the thing. It was too easy. It's like Lego Theory: 93% of the fun is in designing and constructing. Once you finish one build, you play with it for a few minutes then move on to the next one (or add features, make improvements, etc).
i agree with bugbyte and malcom, the carpc can be used for experimenting and testing limits. most of all this is a hobby. i have wanted to just buy a headunit and call it quits many times, but i always come back to the carpc. not because it's easier or better (everyone of you know that), but because it is different and flexible.
a lot of the stuff you see coming out on the newer high end luxury automobiles, most carpc people have had in their car for years.
It's great that the tech for a phone can now duplicate what people were trying to get with their carpc probably two to five years ago, but most people are now pushing the next limit.
i love my iphone and now have it set up to be my car media center for short rides around the city, but i make a multitude of 2-7 hour roadtrips every month. there is no replacement for the carpc in that situation.
but if the cell phone option works for you then great, remember there are people out there who think that the factory radio is more than they will ever need (they too may not need the help that this forum offers).
i am glad to hear that you finally got something that works for you though!
in america, cell phones are being heavily targeted by laws and police... their use while driving is being criminalized by the second. much of the reason i like carpc's is they make driving safer and easier, and not many cops are going to issue you a ticket for using your own custom made carpc. and having all your media locally built-in to the car is priceless... you dont even have to remember to bring your phone.
trader007 has a good point....in many states using your phone as a "carpc" counts as using your phone when driving and is a ticketable offence. It would probably depend on the cop but its definitely something to keep in mind.
But to bugbytes comments-will never be successful except with hobbyists?? LOOK AT THE MARKET! The best in car entertainment system for 2010 was the ford mytouch system which is an in-car pc!! The highest user satisfaction rates were with ford sync, again an in car pc. Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, all the best selling car nav systems run on microsoft auto....and guess what, their carPCs too. Just because the system isn't running on winXP doesn't mean its not a carputer.
Your idea is to replace an incar PC with a screen connected to your iphone and a small computer connected to your car and iPhone. Whats the difference between that and a carPC....your setup routes everything through the phone.
Since a phone will never be able to tie into the canbus, power your speakers, magically expand its screen, tie into steering wheel buttons or a noise canceling directional mic or have any fully functional carPC oriented front end whats the point of having all the required "support hardware" over just putting in an inexpensive pc (prices for good hardware are falling....new phone prices are rising)?
software, or expand its screen... I feel that with the right amount of determination and demand from the user community, all of these things could eventually be possible.
However, I definitely agree that RIGHT NOW, for the money and amount of features available, an inexpensive CarPC trumps anything that a docked phone can offer.