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Thread: Looking for some testers/feedback...

  1. #1
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    Looking for some testers/feedback...

    Hello all,

    My partner and I are in the process of building a media management and information system for the vehicle based loosely on our home products. This is, quite frankly, an entirely new arena for us so we're in search of a few CarPC folks to help us out with testing and feedback on product features, usability and development. This system is still early in the development stages and we hope to incorporate many additional features that we and/or users see a need for; however, it currently includes:

    Music Player (based on J. River's Media Center, but may change)
    XM PCR control
    Support for GPS Navigation
    Video Browser
    Video Media Player (integrated)
    Photo Browser
    Web Browser
    Weather Conditions / 10-day forecast
    Sports scores
    Integrated on-screen keyboard
    Easy-to-use setup/configuration
    ...and more

    We're an interface design team and have gone to great lengths to develop the easiest to use, nicest looking interface we could. Screenshots and feature points are availabe at

    screenshots

    Currently, we are testing on Via M1000/512MB/S3 Graphics card with a Xenarc 7" touchscreen monitor. Wireless data is handled by and Enfora GPRS serial modem. GPS is Co-Pilot 7 with an Earthmate USB antenna. XM PCR handles XM Satellite.

    If you'd like to help us out or for futher information, please contact me at [email protected] for details.

    System requirements
    Windows 2000/XP (XP preferred)
    Windows Media Player 9
    IE 6.0
    J. River Media Center 9, 30-day trial available at http://www.musicex.com/mediacenter/

    Cheers,
    Daniel Reicher
    Cinemar, Inc.

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate ncamara's Avatar
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    The screenshots look very promising.

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate TimmyM's Avatar
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    looks interesting. Will you be able to access other applications from within Cruise Control? How about assigning actions to buttons like in MAINLobby? Skinable?

  4. #4
    It ain't easy being a green moderator meddler's Avatar
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    the screenshots look excellent and very polished. iI this is an indication of the finished product, we will have another great piece of software. I for one would be interest in helping with testing and feedback. PM me if you would like me to help.
    Just a few questions. Is this going to be a freeware / shareware project or a commercial venture? If it is a commercial venture, what is the likely cost? It is obviously not an open source project, but how receptive are you to people helping you with code and or suggestions? I know there are some very talented people on this board. Will the interface be skinnable? I'm sure you will be asked many more questions but I thought I would start the ball rolling.
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

  5. #5
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    Thanks, everyone. The interface already has some ability to customize built in (namely color scheme and what is displayed/not); however, we will be making it as "skinnable" as possible without sacrificing system function.

    This will be a commercial product; however, pricing remainds "to be determined". We're currently evaluating different pricing structures and deciding whether we will be distributing and supporting this directly or through a network of third-party suppliers. The only thing I can promise at this time is the software will be only a fraction of the overall cost of a CarPC system.

    Note: If this is not the proper forum for this because of it's commercial nature - I apologize and please point me to the proper forum.

    As with everything, help is greatly appreciated. At this point we're looking mostly for suggestions and feedback; however, if there is a particular piece of equipment that you have experience in interfacing to that would be beneficial to this system, I'd love to hear from anyone about working together to develop a solution.

    We are in the process of building a "launchpad" system that will allow the user from within the interface, to manage shortcuts to applications they'd like to launch - allowing the user to launch any application they'd like with parameters for it's behavior.

    While most of the system will be "locked down" from adding buttons, etc. - we may look at different options for allowing the user to personalize the system to their particular needs. Bottom line is we're delving into new territory with this and want to work with the CarPC community to build the best possible application we can. We've laid a framework, but feel we're still working on blank canvas.

    Thanks everyone who's responded so far. I'll be getting back to you shortly with further details.

    Daniel Reicher
    Cinemar, Inc.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate Rireal's Avatar
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    All I have to say is "wow". Looks great and has all the features I've ever wanted. Can't wait to see how this comes along.

  7. #7
    Banned NightHunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreicher
    Thanks, everyone. The interface already has some ability to customize built in (namely color scheme and what is displayed/not); however, we will be making it as "skinnable" as possible without sacrificing system function.

    This will be a commercial product; however, pricing remainds "to be determined". We're currently evaluating different pricing structures and deciding whether we will be distributing and supporting this directly or through a network of third-party suppliers. The only thing I can promise at this time is the software will be only a fraction of the overall cost of a CarPC system.

    Note: If this is not the proper forum for this because of it's commercial nature - I apologize and please point me to the proper forum.

    As with everything, help is greatly appreciated. At this point we're looking mostly for suggestions and feedback; however, if there is a particular piece of equipment that you have experience in interfacing to that would be beneficial to this system, I'd love to hear from anyone about working together to develop a solution.

    We are in the process of building a "launchpad" system that will allow the user from within the interface, to manage shortcuts to applications they'd like to launch - allowing the user to launch any application they'd like with parameters for it's behavior.

    While most of the system will be "locked down" from adding buttons, etc. - we may look at different options for allowing the user to personalize the system to their particular needs. Bottom line is we're delving into new territory with this and want to work with the CarPC community to build the best possible application we can. We've laid a framework, but feel we're still working on blank canvas.

    Thanks everyone who's responded so far. I'll be getting back to you shortly with further details.

    Daniel Reicher
    Cinemar, Inc.

    1) I understand the reason for commercial sales. But unless it is absolutely revolutionary, I dont think I could justify forking over the cash when so many other program are available for free.
    2) Why co-pilot. It is great software but very expensive. Also some people prefer using other software. I use routis 2004. This would be great if you implemented something like this, the ability to select your GPS software.

    Anyway, looks awsome and would be nice to even try a time limited trial.

  8. #8
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    This is strictly constructive critism.
    I dont mean to rain on your parade but like knighthunter said to make a commercial product you have to revolutionize carputer software (and honestly from 5 years of development, nice pretty interfaces just dont cut it).

    issues for me using this software.
    1. making it only for co-pilot (as knighthunter pointed out).
    2. having it depend on third-party software that costs money (my biggest issue)

    I do wish that you do a really good job and if you make it EXTREMELY worth the buck people will pay.

  9. #9
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    Gentlemen,

    The system does not require Co-Pilot 7 in any way. That's what we've been testing with; however, I don't think I ever designated it as a requirement. The system should be able to be used with any GPS software.

    Everyone has their opinions on commercial products v. freeware; however, we are a commercial development company. Our products are certainly not for everyone; however, they are more than "nice pretty interfaces" - I assure you. Whether or not it revolutionizes the CarPC software market is entirely opinion. The truth is there are free products that can be shoe-horned together to do just about everything our solutions do - admittedly. Anyone who can write code can certainly tie them together more adeptly and should be applauded. But you have to keep in mind that not everyone is as computer savvy as the leading edge folks who are currently integrating CarPC systems. Some need the support of a software developer that is invested in their products, others just want to be able to setup a system and have their wife or girlfriend be able to use it without thinking about it. While our interfaces are generally nice looking, don't assume they are nothing more than a pretty face. They are professionally designed with aesthetic, ease-of-use and navigation in mind.

    At any rate, we realize our software is not for everyone. But because it isn't for you (admittedly without ever using or trying it) does not mean it's not for anyone. Thanks again for your feedback. It is greatly appreciated. I hope when we do finally bring our product to market you at least look at it before dismissing it out of hand, and if it's not for you - please tell us why so we can make it better.

    Sincerely,
    Daniel Reicher
    Cinemar, Inc.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreicher
    Gentlemen,
    opinion. The truth is there are free products that can be shoe-horned together to do just about everything our solutions do - admittedly. Anyone who can write code can certainly tie them together more adeptly and should be applauded. But you have to keep in mind that not everyone is as computer savvy as the leading edge folks who are currently integrating CarPC systems.
    I understand the support issue with commercial software vs os. But are you supply the whole package (hardware+software+install). Because the way I see carpc now, it is mainly a *geek* or computer savvy thing. This will most likely change in the future, but the average user will want the whole package not just a software solution. Ie look at Circuit City, best buys, and tweeters they all sell complete solutions.

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