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Thread: Flash based commercial front end discussion

  1. #1
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    Flash based commercial front end discussion

    Is there a market for a commercial front end software package for CarPC usage? There are lots of very nice free / shareware packages using inexpensive vehicle interface modules. But, with being free, one can't have high expectations of them from a reliability, capability and support perspective. That is not to say that some packages don't deliver on several or most of these marks.

    The availability of these very inexpensive solutions I believe has kept out commercial offerings that might take it to the next level. So, the question remains - is there a market for a commercial product here?

    Here is what is possible:
    Flash based user interface with user configurable graphical components that would include media, hardware control (relays, temp sensors and such). Drag and Drop design environment (well beyond skinning). Tintable graphical assets to match your vehicle color scheme.
    Movie and MP3 music selection (including coverart) and control. XM and Sirius receiver control. Multiple individual and independent screen support for backseat usage. Adding different media types are upgrades.

    Connection with "deluxe" vehicle interface with detailed vehicle data support (OBDII standard plus enhanced data - which would be optional). Library of highly graphical Flash meters, gauges and control switches. 2 way control over some OEM exposed systems. Most high volume brand OEM coverage subscribed on a per vehicle basis. Connection to CarPC with serial or USB.

    Now, if the CarPC is internet connected (Wifi or other), then an integrated webbrowser is an option. Also when web connected is downloadable weather data (which can be cached locally on the PC for non connected mode), and control over a home automation system for a seamless Home / Car experience. For example, the Car would notifiy the house that "honey, I am home".

    Integration with Mapping services like MapPoint / GPS is a possibility.


    The list goes quite further than the above tease.

    So, to put you in the ballpark to get conversation going, here is very guestimates on pricing:
    Core software = $60
    Music / DVD / XM and Sirius support = $60 each
    Mapping = $40 plus mapping software
    OBD2 hardware device = $150
    Meter and Control graphical library update = $80

    Now, the above prices seem "expensive" compared to the nice alternatives here. But, are there those that are interested in paying Deluxe pricing for Deluxe products?

    Let the discussion begin!!

  2. #2
    FLAC
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    David,

    I certainly believe ther IS a market for a commercial product. However, I don't think you will find much of a market in this community. You would probably have better luck working with a "system" supplier instead of hobbyists. Most of the people here want to do their own thing.

    My 2cents.
    MikeH

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate neon_eddy's Avatar
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    indeed, I like the aspect of "skinning" mike macromedia Components can be skinned .. and just import a skin file,

    however .. why can't we come together as a cohesive unit and make something great, and keep it GPL? .. is there no better way to stick it to the man, a way that we can create something larger than ourselves? Linux is the red heade step child that could, and has. I'm no tree-hugin' hippie, but I would rather contribute to a project and keep it free, keep the information open, and all that jazz.

    but you can still make money from this project, Skin files would NOT have to be GPL, so you can sell it to OEMs and whoever for "free" and then charge for the skin and other setup fees, and you'd need to charge for "GPS" intergration .. but just require a small amount of "do it yourself" and msot "pimp-my-ride" fanboys(girls) would get a headache and jsut pay up for your complete project.

    I run my web design companythe same way, we offer many GPL projects, but charge for installation and support. I even tell them it's free.

    that's my $.02 and I would help
    Shawn



    Check out my web company Minneapolis Web Designer | MODx Web Design - Himmelberger Design


  4. #4
    cheap custom title JC-S60's Avatar
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    Good idea, but wrong place to check for feasibility...

    You should also get together with people that offer complete solutions (like myself, hehe), because people in this community look for other things in software.

    Flux Media is already on it's way to provide a nice commercial frontend, no flash yet though... and there are several other commercial solutions available or on their way...

    Personally I strongly believe in a hardware-software combo, as the hardware part is not something your average joe is going to put together either, and it's those people that are willing to pay for something...

  5. #5
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    MikeH,
    Yes, I respect and appreciate that many here "like to do their own thing"...but, how many are software developers? I see lots of folks, but very few are coders.

    I think there are many here that enjoy putting their hardware package together, install the screen, find a place for the PC, figure out how to feed their PC juice. But, not many code. Now, for the developers, the product I speak of also allows extendability for controlling new hardware / software via the common user interface.

    NeonEddy, This product goes beyond skinning. It allows for user made background images, and user developed scenes using graphical components that can be sized, tinted, rotated and placed on any scene. Each component can also be programmed by the user for function. It allows for much flexibility and individual creativity. It also allows for sharing of user developed scenes. User created graphics can also be implemented for the designers of the group.

    JC, I'll check into FluxMedia. Is there a better forum to ask similar question? I have been a member here for quite a while now, stopping by once in a while. Nice community.

    thanx for comments to date!

    EDIT: JC, checked out Flux Media. Very nice, but not quite the level of what I am talking about

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate neon_eddy's Avatar
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    well whatever .. my main point was, why does money need to be our motovator? I find I do my best work Probono, or at least have the most fun.

    I do this for fun. I work in flash and other graphics type stuff, I've been pushing for a 3D based front end for sometime.. but then streetdeck was released,

    I think mediaportal http://www.team-mediaportal.com/ (GPL) might be a project to fork out and make it carPC friendly.. I beleive it uses directX I feel an GPU accelerated option is better because it uses little CPU, unlick flash which is a CPU hog, although if animated right isn't so bad.
    Shawn



    Check out my web company Minneapolis Web Designer | MODx Web Design - Himmelberger Design


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidL
    Here is what is possible:
    Flash based user interface

    Why make something so easy, commercial ?
    Macromedia also doesn't require any kind of license if you don't have a commercial product.
    Yet Another Carputer Software

  8. #8
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    JouS,
    Not sure I understand your point. Are you saying that building an interface in Macromedia Flash is "easy"? For a basic interface a Flash developer might agree. The product I speak of has been in full time expert development for over four years. I commend your efforts of building a Flash interface and offering it to the community. But, no direspect, it does not appear to be a commercial level supported product today. I would never expect it to be as a shareware / freeware contribution. How much time have you invested in the project? First post is from two months ago. Do you expect to continue it's nurturing and end user support for the next three years? Do you have a website and forum for end user support and communication? Will you pay for the hosting? Don't really need an answer, but that is one point of what I mean by "commercial level support". Again, this is not a negative post on your Flash interface project.

    Well, I was looking to hear from more end users and not developers. Interesting feedback regardless. Thank you all.
    Please continue to comment!

  9. #9
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    I'm an end user & have no programming experience at all...I have spent a lot of money on my carpc, & I can tell you that the right front end does definatley increase the value of my install to me,.... I can have the best system out there, but without a great ui it is just a computer in my dash.....

    I have had much sucess with available front ends though, & a big benifit in working with open source/freeware stuff is that I can customize it & skin it & if I don't like it I can try another....

    each front end has things I like & things I don't.... I would pay for a killer front end that has everything I like & none of what I don't..., but my needs may not be yours or his,... I'm paying for it anyway in time to develop & modify existing offerings.... but now how much of that would I need to do with your frontend too? I mean if I still have some things I like about it, but still need to modify(if that's even an option) for my own use, then it has the same value as the rest of what's here to me....

    unless the modification process is turned into something so simple that anyone with no experience can handle... this would definatley increase the value of the app...drag & drop & easy as a consumer product will go a long way twards making this worth $$$$

    I think what others have mentioned about these forums not being a good place to research this has some validity, I mean you have to realize that the majority here are a little nutz in there own way.... never happy to leave well enough alone or just settle for what is redily available..... if they did, they wouldn't have taken there car apart & butchered it all in the name of "improving" it... I would pay for a killer front end, but there are some pretty killer offerings here already, what will yours do that others won't?

    a flash front end sounds cool, but it has to be a significantly better product for many to consider it over the free offerings here..... a pro developed program with as much development as you speak of may wind up being just that..... if you do market it, be sure to at least give like a 30 day trial or something..... if people fall in love with it, when the trial expires there's a good chance they'll by it

    Core software = $60
    Music / DVD / XM and Sirius support = $60 each
    Mapping = $40 plus mapping software
    OBD2 hardware device = $150
    Meter and Control graphical library update = $80

    as far as this goes, I would recomend just bundling the music & dvd with the core, I mean what would it be good for without at least that.... but with your current price projections, that would mean $180 just for the basics..... it had better be unbelivable at that price..... I think this is just too much....

    price the core with music/video at around $100 has a much better shot of going somewhere I think..... at $180 your market will be very small....., UNLESS this app is just killer & blows everything else away....

    bottom line, people will pay for it if it's worth it, but you have to look on the scale of what's currently available for free, then yours has to be so much superior to command the $$$ you speak of....

  10. #10
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    p.s., need any beta testers?

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