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Thread: Android Tablet as carpc

  1. #1
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    Android Tablet as carpc

    Hi, I am a newbie to the forum and to carpc installations. I have been repairing computers for over 10 year so not short of experience however I wanted to ask a few of you car pc experts about an android tablet car install.

    I have seen 7" android tablets on ebay for good prices and it seems using a tablet for my carpc is affordable.

    Has anyone installed one of these as a carpc. Is the sound ok through the speakers via an amp. Can I use centrafuse with it or a similar software.

    I want to install in my Mitsubishi Pajero MKII has anyone installed a carpc in a MKII Pajero.

    Thanks Baz

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    Mod - iPad Forums RipplingHurst's Avatar
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    Never seen an android tablet pc install, would love to see one. No CF or any other front end Android here, not sure what could be used in the android market...

    I myself plan to buy an android and use it as a carpc, but I don't know anything about the android os...

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    While you may be able to find affordable hardware, you'll run into other problems.

    1) how will you power it. You want it to shut off with the car gracefully? Sometimes you can use the cig lighter, sometimes you may have to invest in additional hardware (dcdc-usb comes to mind)

    2) You can't use CF, you can't us RR I'm not even sure openMobile will run on it with any usable capabilities. Your basically stuck with the default, unoptimized-for-the-car Android interface.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
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    From what I understand about the android tablets is the os can be changed to windows ce. As usb is used for 90% of items these days adding in cameras, external HDD and other usb hardware shouldn't be too much of a problem. The boot time on the android tablets from what I can make out is fairly quick so just a cigrette lighter adapter should work and turn it on and off as I need it. I think the hardware shouldn't be too much of an issue but the software might cause me some problems. I'll have to do more research.

    Thanks Baz

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    win CE doesn't get much attention here-- from what i understand, it requires a more advanced skill-set from the typical hardware junkies like myself, so there really isn;t many options in that area here either..

    Your basically stuck with the default, unoptimized-for-the-car Android interface
    this is a huge one, and the specific reason that devices like android tablets, or iphones in stock form represent poor choices in-car--they use UI's that require large amounts of your attention to correctly execute features, where in a car, you need something that requires less attention(large buttons, easy to read text, etc..)

    i have read that some droid phone users use the magnet-activated car interface, and it is easier to use in car, but is still a little of a long shot to in-car android..

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    Quote Originally Posted by barryassheton View Post
    From what I understand about the android tablets is the os can be changed to windows ce. As usb is used for 90% of items these days adding in cameras, external HDD and other usb hardware shouldn't be too much of a problem. The boot time on the android tablets from what I can make out is fairly quick so just a cigrette lighter adapter should work and turn it on and off as I need it. I think the hardware shouldn't be too much of an issue but the software might cause me some problems. I'll have to do more research.

    Thanks Baz
    heh, I think one of the reasons GenIVI went with MeeGo over Android was because Android isn't very quick booting. That and the idea that you can replace android with windows CE is more like a dream. Driver availability for winCE is going to be a huge issue there.

    Also note that some cigerette lighters turn off with the car, some don't. My '08 impala's doesn't.

    Bottom line is, if you can live with the unoptimized android interface and you have a startup/shutdown solution, it's possible and it just may work for you.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
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    Mod - iPad Forums RipplingHurst's Avatar
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    I like the Dell Stage UI for Froyo...

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55Hje4rHIMY[/media]

    Not perfect, but not bad either.

    As for turning on and off, we would just need an app to keep the screen on and high brightness when it's being charged and off to sleep mode when not charging (engine off). That's pretty much all I could ask for at this stage...still no luck finding something like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tripzero View Post
    ... and you have a startup/shutdown solution, it's possible and it just may work for you.
    Why are you focusing on a startup/shutdown solution for a tablet? If his cigarette lighter powers off with the car then the tablet's battery would just kick in. No? Could just leave tablet in sleep mode when it's not receiving a charge. The real issue to me here is the UI.

    On another note... Not sure why anyone would even want to go the WinCE route (even to save dollars). Seems like more hassle that what it's worth to scrap your working Andorid OS to install WinCE. Assuming the OP purchased a google approved device (ie. meaning you have access to the Andorid Market), for starters get the Car Dock app (may fulfill most of your needs).

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    Quote Originally Posted by prodigalsun View Post
    Why are you focusing on a startup/shutdown solution for a tablet? If his cigarette lighter powers off with the car then the tablet's battery would just kick in. No? Could just leave tablet in sleep mode when it's not receiving a charge. The real issue to me here is the UI.
    That's exactly what I'm talking about. If the cig lighter doesn't turn off (like mine doesn't), how long can he run before killing his battery? It's not going to automatically shut off when it gets below the "I can't start my car"-level without some sort of smarts either in software or extra hardware. Also part of that is having the OS be aware that it's running on the charger so it doesn't go to sleep. IDK if android is smart enough to do that.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
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    One of the things I actually like about my iPad install is that it doesn't depend on the car power system, although the car will charge it when it is turned on. If you stop and restart the car, the iPad doesn't miss a beat. I'm sure an Android tablet - or any tablet, for that matter, would work the same.

    Granted, my install uses a removable iPad. That makes boot time irrelevant. It's already on when I put it into the holder, I just have to swipe the unlock button. That's not as cool as auto wake up or auto start but it doesn't bother me as much as it might bother someone else.

    Auto-sleep or shutdown is the only thing I would like to have. I still manually click the sleep button when I shut the car off or else the screen stays on. A for-car FE app should be able to detect a power state change and sleep the device and I'm sure the same could be done for any type of tablet -but that requires FE software. Which doesn't exist yet.

    Those two issues are minor inconveniences but they do expose the tablet as not perfectly integrated with the car.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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