I've been thinking of using a tablet as a carpc because I had some issues with my carpc and do'nt want to invest to much €'s in fixing my carpc.
Obviously most people are using a google tablet or an ipad but I am wondering if there are people out there that have tried a cheapo tablet as a carpc.
I am thinking of an simple tablet that can handle, video, music and function as a navigation (via external gps or android phone). Not more not less! So an ipad would be an overkill I would say
These days pretty much most if not any tab will do the job. The question is more around do you need internet access or not. If your smartphone has hotspot then you could just use that. I personally preferred my tab to have its own service so I have internet, gps and can even control my phone calls using the tablettalk app.
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Well I have a kindle fire that I got as a gift that I hardly ever use. Problem is when I'm at home I prefer a laptop and when I'm out I just use my android. However this might work out real nicely in my dash, especially in the meantime until I get a real screen installed in the dash. Money is going to be better spent on other useful upgrades for this truck, so putting a tablet in for the meantime would be nice. I'll let you know how that goes.
F350 Superduty 7.3L Diesel - build thread
Okay... but don't be reading books when you're driving!
Things to consider with any tablet, besides performance:
How will you power it? With the Samsung Galaxy Tab's, for example, it's all but impossible to host usb devices as well as charge the device at the same time. This may be important to you, especially with a permanent install, if you want the tablet charging at the same time as hosting, for example, a large thumb drive with all your music on it that you update by carrying it into the house from time to time and hooking it up to your PC. Or maybe, you plan on using a USB audio device to hook into your amps. You may want a device with separate power/USB ports.
Does it have internal GPS, or is it relying on cell towers? For most, GPS is a must-have feature for any in-car installation.
Does it have a means to connect to 3G/4G mobile internet, or can it connect to ad-hoc wifi hotspots? For most, the latter is do-able via upgrades or hacks to firmware.
How is it, physically/ergonomically, in the place where you plan to mount it? Are you comfortable with an in-dash install that, for example, makes the memory card slot on the tablet inaccessible? Maybe you need more on-board memory in such a case. Will it fit in your mounting location? Tablets can have differences in bezel size, for example, even with equally sized screens. Measure first, maybe cut never?
What does internal memory look like, and does it have a microSD slot? What do you want available to you while driving? Large music collection? Lotsa podcasts? Maps of the continental US/Europe/North America/etc. for offnet navigation? Games? Videos (hopefully, you're not using these while driving, but if you have a dockable install, it may be a consideration)?
How do you plan to hook up sound? Jelly-Bean enabled devices, for example, should be able to host generic USB sound devices, which opens up all kinds of opportunity to use high-quality DACs, line drivers, even optical cable to get your sound to an amp besides the run-of-the-mill headphone jack - rca cable conversions. Bluetooth may be another option, but will that degrade your phone or hands-free headset performance?
Are others using it? Do a search on "android car pc" here, or even on Youtube or in Google, and you'll see several examples from people who have done what you're considering. It's often best to learn from other's mistakes and triumphs, right?
For myself, I'm using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0 7". Having had the experience of owning a carPC, I gotta say I wish this tablet existed 5-6 years ago. Whatever I lost in flexibility between PC and Android tablet, I've been paid back tenfold with a $200 device whose display and interface, smoothness of operation, instant-on and compact size, power, and installed footprint would have made me weep with envy just a few years ago. And yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and say it: The features available and smoothness of both on-net and off-net vehicle navigation, browsing my music collection, auto-downloading my podcasts, looking at schedules and emails, typing via the on-screen keyboard, etc. make the PC equivalents look outdated, overly expensive, ill-suited to touch interface, and/or cobbled together by comparison. Yeah, I can't host USB while charging, but I get around this by having a large memory card in the slot, and I don't have any further use for additional USB thus far. It's permanently in my dash, surrounded by the vehicle's factory bezel, looks great, functions well, and navigation via CoPilot is superb. It charges quickly, and will survive on standby without powering it for WEEKS. That means, hooked into a USB charger, it's basically an instant-on device when that charger is powered on/off with the vehicle switch. It loses around 1-2% of battery capacity on standby all night, but charges back to full in about 10 minutes of drive time. Recently, I left the unit on standby for a week while I went on vacation....when I got back to my car, it was instant-on just like it is on the daily commute. It had 80-something percent left on the battery. I can recommend it, but with the caveats listed above.
Last edited by hithere; 12-12-2012 at 10:51 AM.
I have too much time and too little aggravation in my life, so I built a carPC. ;)
Yeah. It can be complex or simple. It just all depends on your ultimate goal like what are you going to use it for...blah blah. Mine is for straight multimedia plus I have a data plan. For the year I had my tab I never needed to host any usb devices. I never had issues charging using the car usb charging designed for my tab. My tab stays powered on 100% of the time and still have not had issues. Its ready to go before I even get in my car.
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