Outstanding! Any word on navigation/GPS? Upgradeable to Android 2.3 (Honeycomb)?
Although not available yet, the Foryou Electronics double din unit in this video features the Android 2.2 operating system. With it, a plethora of app possibilities can now exist in the vehicle, with a user interface conducive to in-vehicle use. Bluetooth, music, email, radio, internet access, and a fast processor are now all easily possible from your dash.
Meh this will be interested when some1 creates a proper frontend for it (cf,rr,..). Boring plain android
So, it has an embedded GPS chip and uses google maps navigation. But I couldn't show that because I couldn't get it work. DOh!
But yet, a FE is needed to make it worth out while. Luckily there are lots of great dev tools for andorid.
I think Android makes an excellent embedded mobile platform. The knock on Google Maps with Navigation is if you don't have a cell signal and find yourself off route, it can't pull from maps already in the phone's memory to re-route you. I personally don't see that as much of an issue especially near a major urban area. Out in even the dankest parts of America, you can still get GPRS cell and that's enough to provide Google Maps with information.
But you with a 3/4G radio you can use Pandora, Sirius/XM mobile, Last FM and various other sites that could replace your standard radio. But most stations are streaming, so it just a matter putting their streaming address in the browser and Androids limited but very functional media player would boot up.
It would drop the price of in-dash units since Android is open source. I see this as win-win for infotainment.
1. The WOW factor... name ANY new feature on head units that didn't bump the price up initially.
2. If you don't include a touchscreen (like Parrot?), what does Android give you that Linux doesn't? And if you do include a touchscreen, then your cost rises significantly. And a single DIN touchscreen isn't very useful in any case, so now you're talking about a different form-factor...added costs.
3. Android may be free, but developers aren't. Somebody has to write the interface to your hardware, it doesn't just magically appear, and that adds to the cost, compared to an existing all-hardware solution.
I've spent a goodly portion of the last couple of weeks writing code for Android and I can assure you that it is a fine platform...but it's just a platform. I'll leave it to the fan boys to argue the relative merits of one platform over another. Java is java...if you know it well enough, then it just boils down to what the platform makes available to you, and how you go about using it.
I doubt the fact that vanilla Android is installed matters. In fact I think this is better than a Motorola/HTC/Samsung/Dell type of skin/mod/custom UI because honestly I highly doubt Foryou Electronics can produce even a sub-mediocre skin/mod/custom UI. Plus potential infotainment software/frontend developers would probably prefer developing with their target being stock Android instead of a customized Android with mods causing potential development issues.
I also doubt they'll put any WWAN/3G/mobile broadband technology in there because of cost (none of the cheapo Android tablets are doing it either and plus Foryou most likely can't get a carrier to subsidize it like Galaxy Tab or Streak). Folks buying this thing will most likely be advanced users and already have their Android phones rooted with Wireless Tether installed so that'll solve the mobile Internet issue (assuming this thing even has built-in Wi-Fi). Otherwise, Navigon (and other locally stored map navigation software) and synced media will be necessary for navigation and music.
A frontend is needed indeed, but I wouldn't look for Foryou to provide much in that department (for reasons stated above). All in all it shouldn't be too hard for a developer to produce a decent first generation frontend. Probably shouldn't be more than an app with Google Maps tightly tied in (always displayed when not navigating) with music, weather and time widgets or overlays with smart show/hide togglers with quick smart action buttons... right?
Any idea of the built-in storage capacity and whether it takes microSD cards?
I think this is a good step forward. Most people get scared when you tell them you have a PC installed in your car. If you have a headunit with Andriod on it they will just think it's like a phone. Though nothing is really changed, it's more of a perception thing.
I personally would like something a little less "fragile" than the windows install and the home built stuff that we deal with today. When I can get something that's completed hardware wise, yet gives me the ability to customize then I'll be very happy.
As far as legality goes, there are things that you do to make it legal. Most legal navigation systems give you a dialog or warning when you start and disable the functions that are not OK to use while driving. I'm pretty sure that most of it will be disabled when the car is in motion (or not in park) and then the creative individuals out there will find ways to bypass that stuff.
In any case, when it comes live and people can buy it I'm sure they will have it modified in a way that it can legally be sold.
For pricing I agree that initially it will be expensive. Since it's a head unit with navigation and all that stuff it will probably sell for around $1000, which I would hate to see. Then, hopefully, it would come down to the $500 range within a year or so.
Nick - 08 GG Element
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