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Thread: Have tablets killed the use of CarPCs?

  1. #11
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    hmmm... i was looking for a tablet to put in my peugeot 307, but i spent so much money in the carpc, that for a while i cant leave it until it has about 3-5 years....

    the problem of the carpc is:

    1) the slow boot (but windows 8, pratically fixed this, so not a big problem)....
    2) The frontends are outdated, hmmm, not sure if outdated is the correct word, only Ride Runner is the one that area updated every month, but still "old", im not complaining, so far RR is the best thing i ever used in my pc, but its really "old"...

    2.1) The frontends dont have more devs to make skins =/, only ugly skins, DFX is the best, but for me sometimes freeze, laggy, so im using the Carwings, really fast, but the buttons/options are not "speedy/finger friendly"... not really complaining again... only saying things that could be better

    i tryed to do "skins" but i was a disaster... will try again in december, not to do another skin but edit carwing to make it better, display time is the first thing i have to do --'



    by the way, is the best in the market of free carpc market....



    i tryed to find the windows ce to install and use some programs in it... but no success searching/finding or help in it.....

  2. #12
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    If a tablet which requires you to switch apps from GPS to music and back again every time you want the info/functions at your fingertips was really ideal in a car, we'd just be using the Windows XP desktop with no need for front-end software.

    There's a reason why OEM navigation units have a "front-end" interface. It's unsafe to be flipping between applications when driving.

    There's a lot that needs to be improved in the Car PC world - front-ends, mediocre hardware accessories that are difficult to install, mediocre software, mediocre Bluetooth handsfree support, etc. But it's a platform that allows for far more features and options than tablets ever will.

    Show me a proper front-end, offline maps, the ability to manage BT handsfree phone calls and Sirius/XM functionality on a tablet and then we'll talk about a tablet replacing the traditional car PC.
    Some links added by the forum, I did not add them, they are not necessarily representative of my thoughts or opinions. Links may have been edited in without my permission.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
    If a tablet which requires you to switch apps from GPS to music and back again every time you want the info/functions at your fingertips was really ideal in a car, we'd just be using the Windows XP desktop with no need for front-end software.

    There's a reason why OEM navigation units have a "front-end" interface. It's unsafe to be flipping between applications when driving.

    There's a lot that needs to be improved in the Car PC world - front-ends, mediocre hardware accessories that are difficult to install, mediocre software, mediocre Bluetooth handsfree support, etc. But it's a platform that allows for far more features and options than tablets ever will.

    Show me a proper front-end, offline maps, the ability to manage BT handsfree phone calls and Sirius/XM functionality on a tablet and then we'll talk about a tablet replacing the traditional car PC.
    1) Offline maps -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAQqqfkXuiA
    2) BT Handsfree phone calls, 90% near what you want, -> same video
    3) i think Sirius/XM functionally i think not yet.... but maybe someone find i way or you can download it from playstore, i dont know, will look later

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
    Show me a proper front-end, offline maps, the ability to manage BT handsfree phone calls and Sirius/XM functionality on a tablet and then we'll talk about a tablet replacing the traditional car PC.
    I've used both systems (used many popular skins for RoadRunner/RideRunner for about 5 years on my carPC install, been on android now for a few months).

    Front End: I'd argue that android, with its customization features, variable dpi, various launchers, widgets, gesture support, and ways to group and display app shortcuts, is as "proper" as the most popular PC front-ends for in-car use. I don't find myself using any more button presses for switching apps in android than I did for RR, or at least I don't feel like I am. A lot of this depends on the android version you're using. In my notification area, for example, there are play/pause/ff/rw controls for audio, as well as soft volume controls, and these controls are available, at a press, even when navigating on my offline maps in CoPilot...that wasn't always the case in android, and such things aren't supported on every device, so make sure you're not arguing based on older data you have on the experience. Point of fact, I'd argue that the fluidity of the interface and response to gestures and multi-touch far outweighs, for example, the in-built shortcuts and command buttons that are more or less conveniently placed in front-ends like RoadRunner/RideRunner. I spend far less time navigating the touch interface on android than I ever did on any carPC front-end I ever used.

    Offline Maps: You got CoPilot and Route66 offering offline maps in android, and although I haven't gained a broad view of what else is out there, for $10 CoPilot offers an offline nav experience that makes anything I had on the PC (up until about May of this year) look like a silly product of a bye-gone era. I have thorough and accurate offline maps of NA (I believe they contract with Garmin or some other mapping entity for updated maps), and online you can have 3D buildings and terrain available, streaming overhead photography, you can even overlay a "chase car" on a given tablet's front-facing camera view and "follow" it to your destination, provided it's positioned to capture the view out the front windshield. The touch interface is also leagues ahead of what I experienced on PC. Route calculation is all but instantaneous, and animations including auto-zoom and lane indications for exits and lane shifts is perfect. Word to the wise: If I were arguing for PC-based in-car solutions, I'd stay as far away from the topic of nav as possible, it will do nothing for your cause.

    BT: Bluetooth hands-free calling IS a problem on an android tablet...the funny thing about it is, however, that a lot of the people riding around with carPCs and bluetooth headsets have a phone that's perfectly capable of voice-dialing, and bluetooth hands-free is rapidly becoming a standard feature in most new automobiles. It's a problem on tablets that's often hardware-solvable, for an outlay of cash and labor that, even together with the tablet install itself, remains some fraction of what it costs to put a bluetooth-equipped PC in a car. HOWEVER, I will give you that managing this on the android OS itself can be problematic, provided you're not running some phone-to-screen solution. To me, there's no sense in arguing bluetooth call management on a touch screen when voice dialing/etc. is available in so many forms so cheaply. That, and there are a number of solutions to directly control your phone via an android tablet, as well as phone-to-screen solutions that completely remove the problem, arguably offering a better call management setup than anything I've seen on the PC thus far.

    Sirius/XM functionality: Yup, I know of no tablet interface that will incorporate satellite-fed radio. The streaming app is pretty good (arguably better than satellite, better SQ, better features), but requires mobile broadband. I will say this, however: These in-car computing platforms, be it PC, iOS, or Android, really open up with mobile broadband, and this becomes something of a non-issue for many people that use their carPCs in this way. I'm more into podcasts now than I am satellite, even though I maintain an online subscription. Given the simplicity of the USB interface for sirius, for example, I'm thinking it'll be a matter of time before someone thinks of a way to get a tablet to talk to it.

    Arguing in favor of a tablet solution, I'd say you have a vastly better and more responsive touch experience (mind you, I used a capacitive touch screen for much of my time with a carPC) with most tablets (smooth-zooming multi-touch, smooth and fluid gesture support, etc), a vastly better screen, a much cheaper total cost, a much simpler install, a much smaller footprint, vastly improved power requirements, "instant on" (provided the right tablet with the right approach) that's both faster and more survivable and reliable than any carPC I've seen come out of standby/hibernation, many more touch-friendly apps without the complicated setup that incorporation in a PC front end requires, and better software/hardware support across the board (depending on the popularity of the app, of course).

    But yeah, there are definitely "gotcha's" and caveats to an android or other tablet-based system. It's just that the same sorts of things exist on PC, just in different areas. PC is still the right solution for some people, but I do feel that the community as a whole is moving toward tablets and inherently mobile platforms such as smart phones faster than the ranks of the in-car PC populace are being replenished. There will always be a corps of people who want a more engineer-centric approach that offers more flexibility in the long run, but I have no doubt there are or soon will be many more in-car tablet users than there are traditional in-car PC aficionados.
    Last edited by hithere; 12-13-2012 at 10:27 AM.
    I have too much time and too little aggravation in my life, so I built a carPC. ;)

  5. #15
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    Very nice "review" hithere!!! you have a video of your install?

  6. #16
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    All my music is in FLAC, lots of video so i need tons of storage I like digital out/higher quality sound a PC offers. I would consider a tablet for the wife's car. So far I am not impressed with how the installs look and how they can be removed or charged. Quick release OEM look is what I'm looking for. My car PC look completely OEM
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by -zip- View Post
    All my music is in FLAC, lots of video so i need tons of storage I like digital out/higher quality sound a PC offers. I would consider a tablet for the wife's car. So far I am not impressed with how the installs look and how they can be removed or charged. Quick release OEM look is what I'm looking for. My car PC look completely OEM
    Supposedly, the new flavors of android support USB audio, which opens up a plethora of high-quality DACs and even optical or s/pdif output to the android device.
    I have too much time and too little aggravation in my life, so I built a carPC. ;)

  8. #18
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    However by the time all of this happens to the tablet with USB, external devices, etc, are the lines not blurred between tablet and laptop PC?

    They will have ended up giving the tablet almost full functionality of a laptop.... so in reality, is it not just becoming a conveniently packaged laptop with a built in TS and a different OS??

    From a hardware Point of view, it doesn't matter what you want to call it, it will still be a box with a GPS antenna, Sirius tuner, sound card etc hanging off of it, the only difference will be the "tablet" will not have a remote Touch Screen attached to it. Therefore harder to install neatly in a dash and harder to access the main box. If they have to add all of this flexibility and functionality to the tablet to keep it selling, maybe the laptop just needed a fresh new package from the get-go. Better TS, smaller form factor, new OS.

    Lets face it, everyone has a PC, many have laptops, the market was getting pretty saturated so enter "tablet" a new gadget that gets peoples attention and makes them buy it/show it off and hang with the cool kids. Then what? OH, it won't do this?...or this? or this? Don't worry, you can replace it in two years with one that will. Before you know it, you have your old laptop back in a reconfigured package after 3 device purchases.

    Kind of like Net Books, anyone remember what they are.....
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  9. #19
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    I currently only have a tablet in the truck and plan to still do a full on carpc. I don't feel like I need everything the pc can do better than the tablet, however I want more options and flexibility.

    For instance there are a number of OBD software packages which will only run in windows. I'm not talking just displaying pretty gauges like torque, I'm talking full on engine management and diagnostics with live 3D graphing. Or say a friend hops in with a new cd I'd like to rip. Or I want to watch a dvd/blue-ray video (while parked of course.) Or perhaps I just want to view that stubborn webpage which will only view on a real computer based browser. Or maybe I want to play a real pc-based video game while I'm killing time waiting for the gf to get her hair done. Perhaps I want to do some video editing of the days snowboard footage so I can burn a dvd to give to my friends before they go home.

    In terms of interface, I think android is currently edging over the pc. As hithere said, the android was designed from the ground up to use the input of just a finger (or five.) If you combine that with a program like Tasker, you can automate just about anything you need to do. Add voice commands to the mix and you dont really need to touch the tablet at all. Mine is mounted to the visor and the goal is to set it up so I have to look at it as little as possible while driving, and most of the time the visor can be kept closed. However when I do need/want to look, its right there closer to my view of the road than looking down at the dash.

    Bottom line, if I only wanted to play music/video, do nav, get email, manage a calendar, simple web browsing, and do hands-free calling, I'd be perfectly happy with a tablet. In fact I think a lot of the time when I'm just doing daily driving with lots of stops, I probably won't even turn on the pc. But on a long road trip the pc would definitely be nicer. And lets face it, this forum isn't exactly about keeping things simple and need-based. We strive to accomplish those bells and whistles just for the sake that we can.

    Down the road I might even want more tablets in the truck. In terms of getting a cheap device able to take input and display video you really can't beat a cheap android tablet. I might put another one in the passenger visor, one in each of the headrests, one above the rear view mirror, who knows. DLNA makes connecting all these over wifi easy too.
    Last edited by SierraStroker; 12-13-2012 at 01:03 PM.
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilG View Post
    However by the time all of this happens to the tablet with USB, external devices, etc, are the lines not blurred between tablet and laptop PC?
    ...it will still be a box with a GPS antenna, Sirius tuner, sound card etc hanging off of it, the only difference will be the "tablet" will not have a remote Touch Screen attached to it.
    Remember, I've done both...I know exactly what it takes to make a PC work with all those devices.

    No, even if you do have a couple of USB devices plugged in, on the laptop alternative you still have to account for, as you say, the interface between the (inferior) touch screen and PC (both USB and video), power cabling to the PC, area for air flow/cooling the PC, figure out how you're gonna turn on/off the pc (read: even more wires), added cost of the PC and touch screen, added time configuring the PC (not totally gone in the tablet, but much easier, imho), and the much more likely to be needed on the PC USB GPS interface, and if you want satellite, you gotta hook that up to the PC as well and power it in either case. OBD is in the same boat, hardware-wise, you have a USB hookup or bluetooth to PC either way. No matter how you cut it, you're gonna spend more time and money to get what you want in a PC install, as well as have a larger installed footprint.

    I'm aware of the advantages a PC platform has when it comes to disc-based media...but part of the point of the carPC, for me, was getting away from discs. I'm much more likely to keep media in a more portable form, and it's been years since I burned a disc for myself. I'm much more likely to watch a ripped bluray or share files to a smartphone or usb stick than I am running into a friend that wants a burned DVD or CD. When I was on my PC install, I really thought about bringing a (USB, there it is again) CD/DVD drive into the mix, but the idea of watching/listening to/buring disc media in the car seemed like a waste. Nowadays, why not take advantage of the vat drive sizes available to easily install to a PC, and carry that beer in a keg, so to speak?

    It's really cool that there are more alternatives for the PC when it comes to complex diagnostic tools for OBD, but for myself, I have a laptop, and if I wanted to partake in such endeavors, they'd likely be infrequent enough that I wouldn't be bothered by not having them built-in. When I was on my laptop install, as a matter of fact, anything that required any real complexity on the PC, the first thing I did was un-dock it.

    Quote Originally Posted by SierraStroker View Post
    We strive to accomplish those bells and whistles just for the sake that we can.
    Believe me, I totally understand where you're coming from. I used to be there, too...it's just not about that, for me, anymore...it's more about freedom and convenience than it is about the sense of accomplishment you get tackling a problem.
    Last edited by hithere; 12-13-2012 at 06:12 PM.
    I have too much time and too little aggravation in my life, so I built a carPC. ;)

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