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Windows powered in-dash Car Computer

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  • User profile image
    khurram

    Just wondering; do we have Windows powered in-dash Car Computers lately..WinCE, Windows Phone 7 may be? Something similar to Parrot Asteriod

    I would like to have something running latest builds of WinCE with couple of USB ports to which I can hook GPS and OBD

  • User profile image
    Ian2

    Microsoft were quick into this market with the Ford Focus etc. They need to be careful that another competitor doesn't come along and pick up the mass market (Apple).  IMO the mantra should be "3 screens & a car"!

  • User profile image
    khurram

    Checked the development platform and its damn expensive. Instead of partnering with car vendors; they should generalize the platform so it can be picked up by masses; entertainment vendors like Alpine, Kenwood etc. There are enterprise applications of such things too...imagine a simple car tracking system that ensure company cars are being used properly etc

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    @Ian2: Indeed, I relly hope they push the work they've done with Silverlight on the phone and the maketplace into a more general solution for writing apps for phone/xbox/windows/car.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    I went looking for this as an aftermarket solution, and the prices were rediculous.  My guess is that it's just too small of a market, yet.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    I was daydreaming a while back, and what I'd really love to see is the following:

    • A tray (eventually standard in cars, but easy enough for add ons today) in your car that you can drop your phone into.
    • This tray provides inductive charging to charge the phone.
    • The tray also initiates wireless communication between the phone and an in dash component (called the hub in the rest of this description). This is done by the initiation of inductive charging, and means battery hogging bluetooth doesn't have to be left on, or manually turned on/off as you get in/out of the car.
    • Media can be streamed between the phone and the hub. Now I can listen to my audio files through the stereo speakers of my car.
    • Obviously the wireless communication would support hands free calling.
    • Streaming should allow for "remote control" of the phone via a touch screen on the hub. Now you can use the phone's GPS on a larger display, for instance.

    I've simplified the description a lot here, but I think you get the picture. The hub acts as a "dumb terminal" that controls the phone, so basically gives you a larger and more accessible touch screen while driving. This replaces the various "phone mounts" and other wired/bluetooth connections we use today for listening to audio and making hands free calls. Basically, a hands free device for the full functionality of your smart phone, all by just dropping your phone in a tray/pocket on your dash. If this is done through standard protocols, any device manufacturer could provide hardware for either the phone or the hub. You'd see most smartphones with the functionality built in, and you'd see most radios acting as a hub.

    It would also be interesting to see multiple screens on the hub, so you could stream videos into the backseat of the vehicle (like DVD players today) from your phone. Going on a long trip with the kids? Pack your phone with MP3s and videos, drop it in the tray and go! Want to listen to podcasts on the drive to work? Sync them to your phone, drop the phone in the tray and sit back and listen (with automatic pauses for incoming/outgoing hands free calls). Need to navigate somewhere? Use GPS software on the phone which displays the route on the large screen on your hub.

    No more wires and mounts to deal with in your car.

    We have most of this already today, but it requires third party devices, wires, interaction with the phone as you get in/out of the car, etc. I just want to drop my phone down and immediately be able to access everything through the "radio" in my car's dash.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @wkempf: Patent that idea. I think it's great.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    @spivonious: Probably too late, now that I've "published" the idea publicly. Wink In any case, if someone built this that would be payment enough for me. Maybe the Microsoft folks will run with the idea, but I urge them to remember to keep this open. The hub/tray system should work with an iPhone, an Android or a Windows Phone, so long as they follow an open protocol.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    @wkempf:I, too, think that would be awesome.

    We pretty much have the technology to do what you are talking about, is now so all it would take is some kind of cooperation.

    I may still try for a carputer, though.  Not for any practical reason, but it would be cool, IMO, to be able to manipulate what's on the car's media list from the house.  Plus the storage of an SDD/HDD would be much greater than that of a phone for the forseeable future...

  • User profile image
    Bass

    Arethere websites/guides on building your own carputer? Might be a good hobby project.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    @khurram:

    There are two different approaches.

    1) Like Ford Sync. They also partnered with other manufactures after Sync, but, I don't remember which manufactures. I think one of them is a Korean and another one is European.

    2) Having Bing in the car, like Toyota. I assume it is only being, not the platform, actually I am not sure. What I am 100% sure is it has Bing.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    BitFlipper

    , wkempf wrote:

    • A tray (eventually standard in cars, but easy enough for add ons today) in your car that you can drop your phone into.
    • This tray provides inductive charging to charge the phone.
    • The tray also initiates wireless communication between the phone and an in dash component (called the hub in the rest of this description). This is done by the initiation of inductive charging, and means battery hogging bluetooth doesn't have to be left on, or manually turned on/off as you get in/out of the car.
    • Media can be streamed between the phone and the hub. Now I can listen to my audio files through the stereo speakers of my car.
    • Obviously the wireless communication would support hands free calling.
    • Streaming should allow for "remote control" of the phone via a touch screen on the hub. Now you can use the phone's GPS on a larger display, for instance.

    Wow, you do realize that Ford Sync does pretty much every single thing you mention, except for the inductive charging, right? When I get in my car, I leave my phone in my pocket, and it syncs with the car automatically. I don't have to touch the phone at all.

    I can then press a button on the steering wheel and use my voice to either call someone from my phone's directory, or tell it to dial a number directly. As a bonus, if you enter/leave the car while on the phone, it will seamlessly switch to/from the phone and car speakers.

    I can also use my voice to tell it to play the music that is on my phone, and it will stream the music from the phone in my pocket to the car speakers.

    In addition (I have not set this up personally), you can program the car to check traffic on your usual commute route an hour or so before you usually leave home, and if there is slow traffic, it will text your phone so that you know to leave earlier. It can also text your phone if it detects something in the engine that needs attention.

    I'm just saying...

  • User profile image
    fabian

    @BitFlipper: how cool is that Smiley

     I want one ... but we can't get them in europe Sad

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    @BitFlipper: Other than seeing one in commercials, I have very little knowledge of the Sync. However, there are a few things from your description that seem to be lacking.

    1. I assume "I leave my phone in my pocket, and it syncs with the car automatically" means this is using Bluetooth? The problem here is that the constant active wireless communication of Bluetooth causes battery drain. To avoid this, most people leave it off until they need it, but that means fiddling with the phone. The tray solves this problem.

    2. There's no "dumb terminal" in your description. I want the hub to just be a dumb terminal that remotely controls the apps on my phone. This goes a lot farther to opening up the software I can run then having to write programs specifically for the hub. AFAIK, the Sync is an intelligent device, and I'd rather see the intelligence in the phone/cloud. Have you ever used Yelp! on your Sync? I want to use it on a hub!

    3. You only mention streaming audio, but I want to be able to play all media. Obviously you don't want movies playing where the driver would be distracted, but I want to stream videos to screens in the back seat.

    4. I want all of this in an open standard. It's the only way to get consumer choice and a large market. Look at the Sync. As great as it looks, how many people have this device, or anything like it? Why don't more people have it?

    I'm not claiming my idea is anything radically new (except maybe the remote control of the phone, which is new, but I won't classify as radical since we've been doing it on the desktop/server for decades). Nothing I mention is something that doesn't exist today, I'm just not aware of it existing in a single implementation, much less in an open standard.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @wkempf:I don't think you want to have a complete remote control of the phone. Just like it's a bad idea to use the desktop UI on a phone, or a desktop UI for the 10-foot experience, it's a bad idea to use the phone UI in a car.

    They are all designed for different methods of access. A phone UI is completely dependent on vision. In a car you want things that can be done without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. Ideally that would include physical buttons on the steering wheel, audio cues, haptic feedback, and possibly some kind of HUD.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    @kettch: Can't agree. Most GPS systems require touch input, and that's the sort of thing I'll want from the hub. Even changing the channel on your radio requires you to interact, and I see that as little different from picking a song from the touch screen.

    I'm not going to deny that more voice recognition for control is better, just like with the Sync, but no touch input at all seems like going to an unnecessary extreme. So, yes, I do want remote control of the phone via the hub's touch screen.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @wkempf: My car doesn't have Sync, but it still does not require I take my hands off of the wheel, or move my eyes from the road in order to operate the radio.

    As far as I'm concerned, GPS devices are terrible examples of a proper UI, and I avoid using them in motion because they take too much attention.

    Microsoft has caught a lot of heat because they spent so many years trying to make desktop UI concepts work in hand held devices, and because they have been shipping the full version of Windows on tablets. Trying to do the same with phone UI concepts crammed into a car is also a bad idea.

    I'm not opposed to a touchscreen, but it can't be the primary method of interaction. You still need to design an interface that will allow the driver to do necessary actions without compromising safety. You also could have a touchscreen interface with a more complete feature set that could be used when the car isn't in motion, or by the passenger. Even then, it should provide access to the phone's content, voice, and data connections, but remoting into the phone doesn't seem like it would provide much benefit. The dash computer needs to be able to operate independently from the phone.

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    @kettch:

    , kettch wrote

    @wkempf: My car doesn't have Sync, but it still does not require I take my hands off of the wheel, or move my eyes from the road in order to operate the radio.

    <snip>

    I'm not opposed to a touchscreen, but it can't be the primary method of interaction.

    I agree with that, all the common tasks like changing station moving through track lists should not require you to take your hands of the wheel, and if possible should present esential visual information in your direct field of view, not looking down at the central console.

    I'd almost go as far to say complex touch screen UI's should disable input if your moving, unless the car detects a passenger.

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