Motorola XOOM - 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4
(Jeep build thread here...)
i've ditched my first carputer attempt, (docked HP laptop with remote 8" touchscreen). it took a long time to dial in to be reliable (though it was a good learning process). then after about 6 months of finally working well, the carnetix supply stopped working. i could have easily replaced the power supply, but i decided to take the opportunity to go in a new direction.
so i'm going to try an Android tablet based system...
i've ordered a refurbished Motorola XOOM 10.1" 32GB WiFi + 4G LTE Verizon tablet that should arrive this week. i wanted a 3G/4G device instead of just WiFi so that features like Google Maps, weather, and traffic are always available (while in the city at least) without the hassle of sharing WiFi from my phone or the expense of getting a cellular USB modem. i'm already on Verizon and with the shared plans, i can add the XOOM for just $10/month.
i think that the Android OS has finally matured enough (ever since ICS) to be very capable. it's also much more hackable than iOS from both a hardware and software perspective. the Windows RT tablets just don't have enough app support yet, and the Win8 "Pro" tablets are too expensive. the Android platform seems to be at the right intersection of affordability and capability.
why the Motorla XOOM?
- i wanted to stick with Samsung or Motorola as they seem to have quality devices that are popular. the popularity means plenty of ROM's, device-specific apps, aftermarket accessories, and more community support (i.e. more people hacking on them already).
- the original XOOM is already officially on ICS even though it's an older device. it's easy to root, has plenty of ROM's including a CyanogenMod version with Jelly Bean. Moto's stock kernels seem to be some of the most feature-rich - they were one of the first companies to include support for USB flash drives, keyboard, mice, etc.
- 32GB of internal storage and more importantly a microSD slot (i've seen posts claiming it supports microSDXC cards up to 64GB).
- connectivity - it has a charger port separate from the USB port. this is very important for me as it means i'll be able to charge the device while simultaneously using it in USB host mode (via OTG cable). there's also an HDMI port and there are 2 different docking stations that provide a clean physical connection to these ports. with a little hacking they can be integrated into a cradle and look nice.
- the price was right for a dedicated car device, the refurbished unit was $229
PROJECT STATUS UPDATES
1/27/2013: tablet arrives
1/29/2013: custom dock finished
2/3/2013: support systems chasis & dock mounting complete
2/6/2013: first test in vehicle - it works overall! electronics 90% complete
2/8/2013: completely new chasis (required due to noise from EMI)
2/25/2013: successfully completed first mini expedition with this setup, no problems other than still working on some audio issues
2/28/2013: all audio issues fixed! main Tasker configuration done and working well, main apps all installed and configured
3/10/2013: steering wheel button integration complete
9/16/2013: hardware fix for intermittent steering wheel button issues, upgraded ROMs using some different apps, re-did all the tasker automation
2/26/2014: integrated rear-screen projection system for movies at camp
8/11/2014: re-wrote the steering wheel button interface app and changed to Bluetooth OBDII dongles (instead of USB)
9/21/2014: implemented APRS with the tablet + HAM radio + a Bluetooth TNC
11/19/2014: removed entire system to simplify some of the wiring, accessories and try to improve audio (noise) - RE-INSTALL IN PROGRESS