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Thread: Google Android - any CarPC potential?

  1. #1
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    Google Android - any CarPC potential?

    As some of you may know, awhile back Google announced their 'Android' operating system designed for phones and other low power appliances. An android SDK has been available for some time and is continuing to be refined.

    Has anyone ever considered it as an O/S to run on a car PC? I'm just interested to get a bit of discussion going surrounding why/why not it would be a good choice or have any potential.

    Cheers, Bryce.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate v8 scimitar's Avatar
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    It isnt meant to run in a pc processor (i86) so needs an emulator which needs an operating system I.E windows linux or Mac OS X intel. So absolutely no potential unless you want a phone as your carputer. So far as I know it doesn't run on any phones at the moment either.
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  3. #3
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    Android wasn't designed to run on a desktop, but that doesn't mean it can't.

    I'm pretty sure that everything in the SDK can be compiled against x86 (or AMD64) architecture.

    That said, IMHO there is quite a difference between how MID's (mobile internet devices) work and how carPCs should work. A lot of it stems from the fact that the MID is designed to sit in front of your face when you are using it. It assumes the user has all the time he needs to navigate and do what he needs to be done. Therefore, text sizes are smaller, click areas/buttons are smaller, etc.

    Car Entertainment Devices (CED ...just made that up ) need to be designed where attention is limited. Therefore, fonts, buttons, and other screen elements need to be bigger, more accessable, and clear. I really hate carpc interfaces that contain more than 8-9 items in a listbox. My eyesight isn't perfect and I don't want to have to stare at the screen while i'm driving.

    With android, there should be quite a bit of overlap with what they are creating for mobile devices and what any Linux embedded device can use. LinuxICE, for example aggregates technologies provided by Ubuntu Mobile, Intel's moblin project, Nokia's Meamo project, along with a bunch of homegrown stuff (nGhost, icepanel, etc) to tie it into a usable CED.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
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  4. #4
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    Android x86

    Android can work fine on a PC since the android kernel is actually linux and you can recompile linux for pretty much any architecture out there. Although, you might need to recompile the kernel for your specific hardware and might need to find the appropriate drivers too e.g. touchscreen.

    Otherwise, you can give it a shot by downloading a USB disk image from here:
    http://www.androidx86.org/

    I have Android running on my Dell mini9 (Atom processor).

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate Outsider787's Avatar
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    Just to add to this Androif thread, not that google maps on Android provides Navigation, I can see this platform making its way closer to a car pc.
    Someone just needs to write a front end to integrate the proper pieces together (music, video, nav, etc)

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate chronoglass's Avatar
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    i can say that I saw alot of potential at first because it IS a "finger" based os. After messing with the androidx86 project for a bit i realized that potential is it's key phrase. Someone FAR better than i would need to take up the reins on adding apps that would be useful, as well as a new driver structure (or possible just a proper obscurity layer between the linux backend and the gui) to make it really useable.

    I have been toying around with a droid since launch and with the google navigation (not just google maps) it is really well made (though if you lose the network connection for too long of course the map doesn't render, though that does take quite some time)

    all in all, the driod is about 1 step away from already being the carpc of my dreams. with apps to track your cars maintence (manual input.. one step shy) gps navigation (this ones actually already there), media player with a really decent playback (bluetooth audio would seal this deal).. add an app to read the diagnostic codes and control an arduino or the like and this thing would be the best ever

    /bias review

  7. #7
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    Yea so it comes really close to being perfect if it wasn't for the fact that its missing a large number of critical features which will likely not be implemented by android developers.

    kev000 already covered why android will not be suitable for a carPC but for those of you that insist on it...openMobile will run on android in the near future (the necessary code is about 90% done so it should be any day now) just don't count on active support.

    Oh, and this message written from my android phone

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate
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    This seems to be a plausible avenue for getting android on x86

    http://www.android-x86.org/

    i'm gonna get cheap refurbed netbook in the coming weeks and see how well (if at all) this works

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate
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    oh, i see kevinkga already posted it. sorry about that.

  10. #10
    And then I was mod. Tidder's Avatar
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    It's close, but still not usable really. Biggest lacking aspects right now are 3g connectivity and GPS (usb to serial) support. Without that, this platform will not go anywhere. Yes I have tried the OS and yes I did experiment with both my verizon datacard and my BU-353 gps device.

    However, I have recently seen that the latest android x86 release supports bluetooth, although a bit buggy. Bluetooth connectivity to a GPS unit may be possible, as well as wifi networking for internet.

    We'll just have to wait and see.
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