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Thread: Product Request: Android 'Froyo' 2.2 - Large Novel, not for the weak hearted

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    Product Request: Android 'Froyo' 2.2 - Large Novel, not for the weak hearted

    *Please folks, if you do not like to read, HIT 'BACK' NOW*

    I am currently building a Carputer system using a Lenovo Q110 nettop (with VESA mount bracket): http://computershopper.com/desktops/...deacentre-q110 which has an Intel Atom N230 1.6gHz processor, 3GB RAM, and a Lilliput 7" HDMI monitor which I've disassembled and fitted with a 3M 7" Capacitive (glass) touch screen sensor to it. My goal here is to provide a similar 'feel' in look and operation to my Droid phone. The capacitive screen upgrade is to provide accurate touch input from your bare finger just like how it is on your smartphone.

    Now I've been trying to find a good front end software and figure out the best operating system for my project of course, and it seems most people like the Centrafuse UI running with XP but I've looked into the GPS options that work with Centrafuse and they all look buggy or feature-limited. I have NEVER seen any GPS program that even comes close to Google Android's 'Maps' application, which uses their own detailed online maps database, plus their own Navigator module, with 'Places' directory, and if you install the 'Google Tracks' app, which uses the same Google Maps structure, you can mark your global position and leave a breadcrumb trail, etc to find your way back easily and there are tons of other good Google, and non-Google apps available for both free and some with a cost which you can get through the app store. The whole GPS thing (and everything else) works flawlessly on my Droid at all times. The only problem with my Droid is the screen is too small for my liking while in a car (or I would just use the USB car dock). Plus, I like the idea of having everything all hard-wired in so the music and all the other tools like OBD-II scanner and all that are already connected to the stereo system and all systems are integrated into the car well.

    So my feature request would be if some developer(s) familiar with the MP3car-type world could use the appropriate release of Android 'Froyo' 2.2 source code, and build it to work on x86/x64/Atom-based processors, and all of the other common hardware associated with car PCs. I read that Intel has released or is releasing soon, some Android 2.2 source code that does support the x86/Atom processors.

    Intel has stated in press releases that they are doing this because they want other Android OS system hardware manufacturers whom do not currently use Intel Atom processors (many use ARM processors), to give them some code support for the Atom processor, because Intel feels if they offered this support, that more of these hardware manufacturers WOULD more often choose to use the Atom processor in their hardware. ( http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Goo...tom,10733.html ).I also read that Acer has also ported over the Android 2.2 source code to work on their Intel Atom-based netbooks recently. So the code is there. We just need people to patch it all together with driver (kernel modules) support to work with all our commonly used hardware pieces, and since Android uses a Linux kernel (2.6), there are lots of drivers out there that may either just work out of the box, or could work with small modification.

    The Atom is a perfect processor for Android, because it is a leaner, meaner, faster OS (with a lightweight kernel) than Vista/Windows 7 with its heavy kernel (which just seems to get heavier with every new release). For this reason, most people with carputers prefer to run good'ol XP, but XP/Vista/7 is not really the best choice for any carputer in my opinion, since it was originally designed as a mouse-driven OS by nature (designed and built for laptops and desktops decades ago), and it has too many unnecessary services included in the kernel that a car PC really would never use, and it is not modular enough to cut out the fluff and make it run as fast as it can. And the last problem is is is closed-code so you cannot trim it down yourself. The Android OS was designed and built by design, specifically for no mouse, and capacitive touch screen sensor equipped devices, versatile and modular, for mobile application use. And even the standard UI (typical home screen) that ships in Android, is already far better suited for mobile ease of use (for minimal driving distraction), than the Windows desktop or even the Linux X-windows desktop based design and a stylus in hand.

    If we had a working Android OS in the Mp3car world, we would have all the same benefits as our Droid smartphones already have now: Full gmail / Google account support including Google calendar sync, email sync, Google Docs sync, Android system settings backup / app backup sync, Google Maps, Google App Market support, Google Checkout etc. Then developers whom write single OS compatible programs now in the Mp3car world could then write or port over their current apps to Android code that all adhere to a single format (one single SDK toolkit will reach a larger audience). If those same devs wrote good apps that worked well for carputers, many Android smartphone owners whom have USB car docks in their cars would likely also purchase those same car apps, since the apps are compatible across all Android devices.

    Developers for frontend UIs could then write or port over their custom 'home launcher' programs which are the frontends known in the Android world. I have 2 different home launcher apps installed on my Motorola Droid phone now (ADW Launcher, and Launcher Pro), with one set, as the default launcher, but I can pick whichever launcher I want to use. A developer could then build a UI kinda like the Centerfuse frontend to really just be a home launcher you install, so then it could also be designed to just have an entire array of custom widgets which are just puzzle pieces so the user could build his own dashboard panel right on the home app, using any one of the 7 different scrolling home screens, with all the control widgets placed best for his own liking, and optimal use. Or, the developer could just build a frontend as a simple app for now, which could at least perform all the necessary functions in their own custom panel(s).

    Android is the FASTEST growing OS on Earth right now, so now is a good time to get on the bandwagon. I'm learning how to program right now, so it is still too early for me to figure out exactly how to build Android on my Atom 230 equipped Q110, or build apps to sell or anything right now, but I just thought I'd post this here today so that if there are any people here who can share my vision and see how logical this idea sounds here, and those people may know how to get this job done, then perhaps someone would like to tackle this task. Even though I can't do it now, I'm still studying about how to do it anyway. I do hang out a little in the xdadeveloper.org website, which those guys do a lot of this kind of stuff over there.

    I currently own a Motorola Droid phone that I've rooted, and I run a custom ROM (JRummy's Lithium Mod) with a custom kernel (jdlfg 250mHz-1000mHz) which was built to be very lightweight and have only the modules it needs to run what my ROM needs, and it runs super fast even though I only have the CPU clocked at 1000mHz when on the max slot. If my Atom 1.6gHz had an optimized build of Android 2.2 on it, it should fly. My Lenovo Q110 carputer has the Nvidia ION video chip in it, so it supports playback of 1080p full HD video playback with hardware acceleration enabled.

    I have my Droid set up with WiFi tethering hotspot enabled on it so I can connect up to 16 clients to it, and use the 3G service across multiple devices. My plan is, I have a scheme where I will install a wireless WiFi client adapter into the carputer, and set it to 'automatically connect' to my saved profile which would be my Droid phone, and then just leave that setting on the carputer on all the time, but not the Droid. So then on my Droid, it's a 2-keystroke sequence to turn on the WiFi AP router mode...tap on the homescreen shortcut, then app opens, then there is a button on there to actually turn on WiFi AP service daemon. Well, continuing with my scheme, is to use the Droid's USB cradle charger (will have it permanent mounted in center console), and at such time when you plug the Droid into that dock, it proceeds to connect using the USB charge profile (not the A/C charge profile which is the home charger) because Android phone has the ability to see the difference when you connect to the A/C charger (1000mA chg), and the USB charge profile (500mA charge), since USB by spec only supplies a specified 500mA of 5v power), which is what I will use is the USB dock with a 500mA DC-to-DC power supply. Then I will make a small script on my Droid so when the power profile changes to USB charge profile, the script will automatically run, and it will run a couple sh commands to enable the WiFi hotspot daemon and then, the carputer, being the good carputer that she is will just automatically connect to the Droid AP when she sees it broadcasting, and then all the online Google services will just start working automatically. In fact, if a guy really wanted it, he could make a script so that upon connecting the USB charger to the Droid, it would enable the WiFi AP, and carputer client would connect as said before, but also add a command into the script that would forward all of your normal cellphone calls over to your Google Voice account (fully supported in Android 2.2), then the carputer would be set up with Google Voice and so then when someone calls your phone, it will ring on the carputer through the stereo speakers and you can have a microphone up on the sun visor. But this would have advantages for me, since I use Verizon and on CDMA networks, when someone tries to call you, it interrupts the 3G data while in that call, so by forwarding the calls to Gvoice, then your cell wont ever ring while on the cradle, but the datalink would still bring that call to your Gvoice app, which will use the system speakers and microphone for communication. Then as soon as you unplug off of the car dock cradle, and the power profile changes again, you can have a reversal script to disable the WiFi AP router mode, and unforward the call back to your normal cell number.

    So as you can see, the possibilities are endless if we had Android in the carputer world. Are there any pioneers who want to help? I will do what I can. If somebody else does it all, I can at least help test the builds as they are made. I am a professional QA Engineer so testing software is what I do best. But if nobody wants to help or can not help, then I am still going to try to do it on my own anyway. It might take me years though...

    It looks like Intel may have already done all of the dirty work, getting us some source code to build from that can support tradition CPU architectures, but we just need some good carputer-enthusiast devs who may want to try to build this Android code from source, and get it working with all the driver modules we need, common to the hardware that we like to run in our carputers, like our GPS sensors, and video cards, bluetooth modules, etc, and all that good stuff.

    Really, how hard can it be?

    SORRY SO LONG, but this is as much as I could trim it down...

  2. #2
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    That was a really long way to go to ask if someone would make Android run on the Atom processor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samsonite801 View Post
    Really, how hard can it be?
    One thing I've learned is that it is always harder than you think.

    Meego is the new kid on the block and is expected to be more suitable for mobile devices. There are some devs on this forum who can explain why.
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    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    That was a really long way to go to ask if someone would make Android run on the Atom processor.


    One thing I've learned is that it is always harder than you think.

    Meego is the new kid on the block and is expected to be more suitable for mobile devices. There are some devs on this forum who can explain why.
    Intel has already ported Android to work on Atom processors. But Android is being viewed as a "stop gap" for something better. A major smartphone maker recently said: "using android is like peeing your pants for warmth in winter". Much of Android's value-add comes from proprietary bits that Google controls (ie, the store, etc). This frightens a lot of handset makers.

    Technically speaking, as an open source project, android frustrates a lot of upstream projects (like the Linux kernel) when google forks their code and changes it in ways that aren't very useful to the original project or to the general open source ecosystem.

    Then you have the whole, Froyo isn't designed for form factors that depart from handsets thing. I've seen android on the netbook and there are clear issues with the UI on that big of a screen (the same size screen you'd likely be using in your car). The bottom line is, Android wasn't designed for your car, it was designed for your hand with captive attention in mind (unlike a car, where you can't sit and stare at the screen safely while driving).

    There is a lot of effort in the android community to make android work on generic x86 devices, but they run into issues with the forked driver model that makes normal linux drivers difficult to port. They are improving slowly, however, the whole issue of it doesn't have an app store, it doesn't have google nav, gmail, or any other google service makes it far less appealing.

    MeeGo on the other hand is more akin to standard linux. This makes porting it to other devices a bit easier. It currently runs on atom processors, ARM processors and has been ported to a number of devices with only community effort. It runs on the n900, the beagleboard, the igepv2 and I've seen it boot to at least to the command line on the nexus one and a few other previously-running-android phones.

    Meego also has eyes on automotive and has a specific version just for that segment.
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    I'm too lazy to read, but assuming bugbyte's precis is accurate, http://www.android-x86.org/
    ?

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    mal suggested I sum up my post by saying "google doesn't care about what you want to do". But as chunky and I mentioned, there is a community run effort to port android to generic x86.

    I should also note as a random tid-bit that the "tested platforms" on Chunky's link are all intel atoms with intel graphics from what I could tell...
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    if you speant half as long reading as you did writing that post you could have saved us all a giant waste of time...... a 2 second google search could have found android x86 for you....there are dozens of posts here about exactly why android is NOT a good choice in car.... (hence not used or planned to be used by any major company in car).
    It also happens to be a UI layer not a true OS (google dalvik) so the proper comparison would be googles version of linux to windows or android to one of the front ends. I wont even mention that android is actually the slowest of all the linux based os's-you seem to have made up your mind.

    oh...and yes im actually an android developer (write apps for it)-so the whole oh just port it over to x86 thing comes across a lot like "just cure cancer in your spare time"

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    The *wish* from the OP really boils down too -- how do I run Google Android Maps on my carpc? Is there any way for him to have that (which I admit is nice) running on a system that's not android?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nasa View Post
    The *wish* from the OP really boils down too -- how do I run Google Android Maps on my carpc? Is there any way for him to have that (which I admit is nice) running on a system that's not android?
    legally? nope...google keeps it exclusive to android to attract customers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    if you speant half as long reading as you did writing that post you could have saved us all a giant waste of time...... a 2 second google search could have found android x86 for you....there are dozens of posts here about exactly why android is NOT a good choice in car.... (hence not used or planned to be used by any major company in car).
    It also happens to be a UI layer not a true OS (google dalvik) so the proper comparison would be googles version of linux to windows or android to one of the front ends. I wont even mention that android is actually the slowest of all the linux based os's-you seem to have made up your mind.

    oh...and yes im actually an android developer (write apps for it)-so the whole oh just port it over to x86 thing comes across a lot like "just cure cancer in your spare time"
    Did you happen to read my first sentence in my above post by chance? Had you read it, your time would not have been wasted, as you would've simply hit the back button.


    By the way, I am aware of the Android x86 project. Unfortunately, it does not install onto my Q110 as of yet. There are too many drivers and various things that are broken in it's current state.

    Also to note, I bought a cheap Chinese tablet the other day which runs Android 2.1, and then I went over to xda-developers.com forum and found a reworked firmware which somebody got Google Apps all working, and got the Market working, which it all works well, so it is possible to have Google services on any Android build, it just might have to be added in later. And, Android is not slow on 2.2 because they got that Dalvik JIT compiler working and on my phone using that, with a light weight kernel, it runs really fast and is very responsive (menus all scroll much smoother than the original firmware). And the Intel Atom is even faster than my phone's ARM processor by a wide margin, so if my carputer evens runs a small amount faster or even just the same perceived speed as my phone, then I'll be in heaven.
    .
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    Quote Originally Posted by nasa View Post
    The *wish* from the OP really boils down too -- how do I run Google Android Maps on my carpc? Is there any way for him to have that (which I admit is nice) running on a system that's not android?
    YES, thank you, thank you, thank you, this is what I'm after.

    I don't really care if Android is the world's fastest OS or not, it is built well for my use in the real world. I would love it if I had all my Google utilities available to me while in my car on the carputer screen. I like my Gmail, Gmaps, Gdocs, Gcalendar, and every other G thing that my phone has too. There's a reason Google is doing so well. And if privacy bothers you, there is a way to turn off all that crap that make people worry about privacy. You can go into your Google account settings and turn off all that stuff. And if your worried about them knowing your GPS location, heck you can turn that off too. I always keep my GPS radio turned off when I don't actually need to use GPS, and only turn it on when I need to find some place anyway. And besides even if they do track you somewhat, it is really only to help the search engine to find out the best results when you search for stuff anyway. I also run Droid firewall too so you can have control over what apps can connect to the internet so what is wrong with Android anyway?

    I will take a look at Meego just to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion, but the reason Android is so appealing is because it is well integrated into my Google services and I like that.

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