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Thread: Have tablets killed the use of CarPCs?

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    Have tablets killed the use of CarPCs?

    I'm just sitting here with a dual core, 2GB laptop that I can rip to pieces and turn into a CarPC no problem.

    However, there's 7" eBay Android tablets everywhere all day long for 100 which is about what a screen kit costs before delivery.

    Is there any REAL advatage of the car PC?

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    It's like everything in life, everything is a trade-off. Your trading off easy of install lower cost for less functionality. If you won't miss any of the additional functionality a PC offers then, the tablet will save you time & money.
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    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    ^ exactly. i built a carpc for music storage, and audio processing. no tablet will do audio processing by themselves..

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    It seems like a lot of things have killed the car PC. At this rate I don't think my car PC will ever get installed as it seems like support and development is dwindling fast.

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    Like was said, PC's can do complex audio processing (but so can some off-board processors built for car stereo) and they have, via I/O modules and customization, almost limitless flexibility of application. However, this comes with added cost in time and money.

    I've owned both, for a long while now, and my tablet install is like a breath of fresh air....I would challenge anyone to find a better, more responsive, and accurate display and touch screen for less than $700 for PC, and the requirements for power, mounting, etc. are minuscule compared to the customization work you'll do with that laptop. The options available for nav on a tablet make the PC options look either laughably outdated, or way too expensive and unsupported, imho. That, and although the PC has more functionality in terms of application, you'll go through a ton of work to make it any more useful than a tablet.

    For me, the checklist looks like this, for android functionality: Nav? Check/likely better. Off-board storage, USB or networked? Check. OBD-II? Check. Bluetooth? Sure, what flavor you want? Music browsing and playback? Check. Wireless/Mobile internet? Of course you can. An environment where everything is ready to run in a touch interface? You won't find that on a PC without a lot of work.

    Whereas on PC: Expensive? Check. (Relatively) Difficult to install? Check. Heat/motion problems to overcome? Likely. Large footprint? Likely, but possible to overcome. High power requirement? Likely. Display problems? Depends on how much money you got. Software interface that requires editing .ini's and complex setup procedure? You bet. Startup/Shutdown issues? Likely.
    Last edited by hithere; 12-12-2012 at 06:41 PM.
    rob1218 likes this.
    I have too much time and too little aggravation in my life, so I built a carPC. ;)

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    I agree with a lot of checks, but there's a question I'm not able to answer.
    With a PC is possible to use a relatively cheap audio board that offers a good audio quality, optical outputs and signal levels suitable for car amplifiers.
    With tablets is usually available an headset output only (as I know).
    Although I haven't a sophisticated audio system, but the bmw oem one, I think that a good source could make the difference.
    So is there a tablet with a digital, or anyway suitable, interface for this application?

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    On an Android tablet, can you have a full screen GPS map actively reading you directions from offline maps while also displaying media and volume controls along the edge of the display?

    What about sun reflections from ultra-glossy tablet screens? How about using the screen while wearing gloves?
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
    On an Android tablet, can you have a full screen GPS map actively reading you directions from offline maps while also displaying media and volume controls along the edge of the display?
    No, I have to touch the right corner of the display to bring up the play, pause, ff, rewind and volume controls, which are available even when the nav is running. To switch apps, I have to touch the left corner, and select from a windowed list of running apps. I'd trade that any day for my experiences with PC nav solutions.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
    What about sun reflections from ultra-glossy tablet screens?
    Hasn't been a problem so far at all, and I'll put it up against, for example, a $400 transflective Zenarc any day of the week, at any time. The cost of that better touch experience on android is less for the complete install (sans common equipment like amps) than the PC solution for the touch screen alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
    How about using the screen while wearing gloves?
    Well, that's a problem I can solve with a pair of gloves with a touch-enabled finger tip, which also work on a smartphone. Solving your typical PC monitor problems are more costly.


    I'll say this though: These are all matters of opinion and personal viewpoint. To be truthful, a tablet installed in a car IS a car PC, just in a different form factor and (likely) different OS. Microsoft is doing what it can to make Windows-equipped PC's operable in touch interfaces, and the folks behind Android are endeavoring to make their product more flexible in terms of application and hardware support, like a PC. Microsoft is gonna have some pretty sweet tablet options coming down the pipe soon, especially when I5's start showing up in tablets early next year. Then, you'll start seeing heavy support for things like touch-enabled navigation showing up, and you'll likely not give anything up in terms of support for USB devices and whatnot, opening up all kinds of in-car options without sacrificing the ease and interface of a traditional tablet experience...good times are ahead for either camp. But for 99% of people starting out, who don't want a PC in their glovebox and complicated wiring to support shutdown and turn-up, and complicated software setup and hardware customization, I think an android tablet is a great "just works" solution right now, for the most popular applications like nav, music browsing, weather reports, email, calendar, OBD, etc.
    Last edited by hithere; 12-12-2012 at 07:12 PM.
    I have too much time and too little aggravation in my life, so I built a carPC. ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by hithere View Post
    No, I have to touch the right corner of the display to bring up the play, pause, ff, rewind and volume controls, which are available even when the nav is running. To switch apps, I have to touch the left corner, and select from a windowed list of running apps. I'd trade that any day for my experiences with PC nav solutions.
    See I'm not interested in hunting around for functions that should be fixed on the screen, especially when driving. It's almost as bad as using a phone while driving.



    Quote Originally Posted by hithere View Post
    Hasn't been a problem so far at all, and I'll put it up against, for example, a $400 transflective Zenarc any day of the week, at any time.
    My PlayBook's screen is easier to see in bright light than my transflective lilliput, however when the sun hits it directly it's like holding a mirror up and looking directly into the sun. Any glossy screen will be like this. I'd rather have my screen wash out a bit in bright light than reflect the sun directly into my eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by hithere View Post
    Well, that's a problem I can solve with a pair of gloves with a touch-enabled finger tip, which also work on a smartphone. Solving your typical PC monitor problems are more costly.
    I'm not interested in touch enabled gloves as a replacement for my nice leather gloves.


    Quote Originally Posted by hithere View Post
    I'll say this though: These are all matters of opinion and personal viewpoint. To be truthful, a tablet installed in a car IS a car PC, just in a different form factor and (likely) different OS.
    I'll agree that it's a form of a car PC. Just much more limited.


    Let's see what's not supported on tablets:

    Sirius/XM hardware.
    HD Radio, AM/FM tuners, etc.
    External GPS antennas. (useful if you need to relocate the GPS for a better signal)
    GPS dead reckoning devices.
    No proper front-end application integrating all the features properly is available.
    Multi display setups (getting more advanced but people want it)

    The list goes on.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
    I'm not interested in touch enabled gloves as a replacement for my nice leather gloves.
    always have a pair of rugged wear box handling gloves.. they don't work right away, but a few days of working out in the field with them, and they've worn in enough to be perfect for capacitive touch displays..




    Quote Originally Posted by sebberry View Post
    I'll agree that it's a form of a car PC. Just much more limited.
    'limited' makes it sound like tablets are poor.. they're not. if it wasn't for my bullheadedness about using my pc to process and distribute the audio instead of relying on a external device to do it, pretty much any tablet would be more then capable to do everything i want out of a carpc, even more. sure they lack some external expandability, but not everyone needs that..

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