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Hardware Hacking Portables Transportation Hardware Build

The DIY Car Computer vs. the iPad 202

Julie188 writes "Auto dealers are selling infotainment systems at a nice fat profit, but if you know your way around a motherboard and power supply you can rip out your car stereo and replace it with a do-it-yourself touchscreen PC, complete with DVD, GPS, TV, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, MP3, and Internet surfing. The question is, is that even worth the bother? Or is it better to bolt a mount into the car for an iPad or a Galaxy tablet and call it good?"
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The DIY Car Computer vs. the iPad

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  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:55PM (#34322960)

    most people who buy cars like to keep their warranty

    and what about cost vs a $500 iPad?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:00PM (#34323020)

    how the hell does replacing the radio void the warranty?

  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:00PM (#34323032) Homepage Journal

    Can it play regular CDs or DVDs? Can you easily plug a thumb drive into it or otherwise upload additional information without needing a fast network connection or another computer running inside the car? There are lots of things tablets *don't* do well yet. Cellphone docks for cars have been around a long time, they probably do everything you want (except having an extra large screen) and have the added benefit of being more portable (trust me you really don't want to leave your ipad inside your car unless your car never leaves your garage)...

    So not surprisingly, the iPad/Galaxy Tab are nice (as are car computers, and traditional stereos) but it's all up to the user to say what's important and what's not.

  • Same day use? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:04PM (#34323080)

    Where is the fun in just buying an iPad?

    When you can use video, music, and applications on it directly the same day of purchase?

    If assembling the computer is fun for you then by all means that is part of the fun... but for most people the "Fun" part enters in when they start listening to music.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:04PM (#34323084)

    I can currently stream music over bluetooth/usb but I'd really enjoy an Android powered headunit with a nice interface and high quality sound. I'm a little surprised the big guys like Pioneer are putting so much effort into their own interfaces.

  • Theft (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:06PM (#34323110)

    I really wouldn't want to leave an iPad or anything like it in my car. If the unit looks flush and well protected by the dash, there's a much better chance that thieves won't want to dig into it. Does a stereo slot support 9-10"? I doubt it. Does it look like an iPad when a tief looks through your window? If so, expect a big broken window. Any extra cost for a manufacturer's integration is a lot better than having to constantly remove the unit from my car whenever I park my car in public.

    At least with a self-built unit, you can make it look like its a manufacturer's unit, but you also need a way of syncing and updating the unit in a way that is simple and straight forward.

  • by Slutticus ( 1237534 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:08PM (#34323130)
    'cause if there's one thing I need, it's the ability to check my facebook account in addition to checking email on my blackberry, fiddling with my radio, arguing with my wife and entering coordinates into my GPS.
    While driving. Down the freeway at 80mi/hr.
  • Personally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SteeldrivingJon ( 842919 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:11PM (#34323182) Homepage Journal

    I grew out of my building-PCs stage. If I'm not going to do that, i'm certainly not going to do the equivalent, PLUS crawling around on my knees bent under a dashboard, dealing with the joy of automotive proprietary wire harnesses and similar.

    Throw an iPhone on the dashboard. No interest in an iPad. I don't watch TV, and barely watch movies. I'm not so media-addicted that i can't handle merely listening to audio in the car.

  • CarPC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oceanplexian ( 807998 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:16PM (#34323236) Homepage
    The iPad is neat but not even close to being a decent CarPC for several reasons

    1) Glossy LCD Screen makes it impossible to read in a car

    2) Lack of a tactile interface

    3) Tiny, internal GPS can't connect with an external GPS antenna

    4) Lack of XM radio integration (Not everywhere has 3G)

    5) Audio quality is mediocre when compared to a discrete sound card

    6) The screen is huge. Most cars don't have that kind of room in the dashboard without serious modification

    7) The interface, while intuitive, is not great in a car environment. I want to see MPG, the song playing, distance to destination, and more on a single dashboard screen

    8) It's easy to steal if you make it removable
  • Re:Why not... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lilith's Heart-shape ( 1224784 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:19PM (#34323290) Homepage

    just pay attention to the road, and drive?

    The computer is a handy distraction for my wife, who would otherwise criticize my abilities as a driver despite not having a license herself. If she can instead distract herself with a game and let me drive in peace, then having an in-dash computer is better for my marriage.

  • by Old97 ( 1341297 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:20PM (#34323296)
    I don't use the CD Changer anymore. I plug in my iPod or iPhone. I don't have a GPS system because the navigation system on my iPhone works well. I don't watch DVD's while driving and I don't have young kids, but if I did, I'd give them iPads or iPod Touches instead and they could watch or play or whatever. All this stuff works whether it is my car, a friends car or a rental car. It also works when I'm not in a car. Why would I want to pay for something like that if its bolted into a car? Hell I watch all of my video on my iPad or my computer so our TV is gathering dust. So many of the previous generation of entertainment devices are now obsolete. It's funny.
  • Re:Why not... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by corbettw ( 214229 ) <corbettw&yahoo,com> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:28PM (#34323404) Journal

    So your wife is a harping shrew who complains until she gets her way, and you just sit quietly and wait for the tantrums to end. Go turn in your Man Card, immediately.

  • Re:obviously.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:29PM (#34323416) Journal

    True, but is this a worse risk than the knitting needles my 8-year-old uses while knitting to pass the time on our long drives, or the books she reads, or the sets of sharpened pencils, or any of the other activities she has? Anything loose in a car that is either pointy or heavy can become a deadly projectile in an accident. And, yet, we still keep loose items in cars. I don't see the iPad as any more risky than a hardcover copy of McClosky's "One Morning In Maine". It weighs about the same and has the same basic shape.

    In fact, from a safety perspective, my daughter's seat area is FULL of loose objects on any long drive, so she can have several activities handy to keep her busy. On the other hand, an iPad would probably provide her many hours of entertainment for the risk of a single loose object, and she'd probably be happy enough with an iPod that weighs just a few ounces.

    But I'll stick with the creative activities for her, even so.

  • Re:Same day use? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:30PM (#34323432)

    For 'most' people who read Slashdot I would wager half the fun is building it, the other half is the bragging rights to having built it, and the remainder is towards actually using it.

    And no I didn't make a math error in the above statement.

  • by Lilith's Heart-shape ( 1224784 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:41PM (#34323576) Homepage
    ...but I like being married, and not being in jail for being a fucking wife-beater.
  • Re:Why not... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:49PM (#34323710)

    So your wife is a harping shrew who complains until she gets her way, and you just sit quietly and wait for the tantrums to end. Go turn in your Man Card, immediately.

    In this case, the man won the fight. She just doesn't know it. Look at the end result and who is now doing all the work.

  • Re:Why not... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @03:54PM (#34335900) Homepage Journal

    I see you've either never been married, or never been married for long.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?