25
Jan
nexus-7

Stop holding your Nexus 7 in your hands like a chump and check this out. These industrious modders have built and installed complete Nexus 7 mounting systems in a Subaru STi and Toyota Celica. The Toyota owner even created a launcher skin to go with the mod. The skin, of course, is based on Knight Rider (seen below).

Celica Mod

The modder with the Toyota used Nova Launcher, UCCW, and Simple Text to build a simple Knight Rider UI  that gives access to the most commonly used functions. Having something like this in your dash is probably not the safest thing, so cutting down on distraction is a good call. The software makes this mod truly useful, though. The creator set up Tasker to keep the screen on when the car is running, and put it to sleep immediately when it's not.

Update: The modder posted a detailed walkthrough of his installation here.

Subaru Mod

The heart of the Subaru mounting system consists of a custom-built acrylic box holding the tablet in the right position to match up with the Subaru DIN AV panel. This also makes a nice housing for the power cabling that ties the device into the car. Audio is carried into the car's existing system via a Bluetooth dongle tucked up inside the dash. Slap on an anti-glare screen protector, and you're ready to actually use it outdoors.

sti_n7-33 sti_n7-12

sti_n7-15 sti_n7-10

The Subaru mod doesn't include any fancy software stuff at this point, but it's probably a little more streamlined right now. Still, both the resulting mounts look killer.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Paul_Werner

    This would be nice if I had the money to keep an extra N7 in the dash. I would much rather have an easy way to pop it in and out of the dash. Looks nice though

    • Ian Santopietro
      • Paul_Werner

        $600 for something like that? Looks like I need another line of work if I want to afford android based devices in my deck

        • Ian Santopietro

          Yea, but it works flawlessly, gets you radio as well, and you get full use of your device through the dashboard.

          Combined with a $15 bluetooth OBD-II adapter and the Torque Pro app, you can even get GTR style electronic gauges in it too. And you can have full video playback, access to Google Play(music), hands-free phone. It's just so much better than anything else out there. And you don't need to tear your dash apart as much or sacrifice a whole tablet. Most cars already have space for a Double-DIN head unit anyway.

          EDIT: You can also find them for a lot less than $600. The lowest prices I'm seeing are around $375, which is the cost of a good amp (you'll need one if you're replaceing the stereo with an Android device).

      • leoingle

        yeah, he cant afford a 200 tablet, so suggest a 375 radio. Arent you just genius.

    • Tim Peyton

      Actually, on the Subaru it was made to be removable.

  • Jazli Aziz

    Fool! Now I know your lockscreen pattern! Muahaha.

    • JakeZachariah

      i thought exactly the same thing!

      • mrbridger

        i've changed the pattern already ;-)

        • David Spivey

          Yea, now it's a Z (lol)

    • letsplaaay

      Muahahahaha! Time to steal his identity and make new credit cards, passports and birth certificates!

  • Kenny O

    How would the weather treat the tablet?

    • Chris

      clearly you never owned a car before.

      • Nick Rosas

        I'll answer your question with another question, how would the weather treat the seats/cup holder/carpet inside?

        • James

          Hey his question is legitimate.
          I have a Sam Tab 7.7 in use full time in the car and live in Australia where the heat lately is ruthless.
          I always have to pop it out and put it under my seat on hot days.
          If not, when I return the thing gives alarms that it's too hot!
          The Tab 7.7 does have that brushed metal back so maybe that helps it to heat up quick.
          Not sure how the Nexus7 would cope.

          • Kenny O

            Exactly. I live in Florida. It gets very, very hot in the summer, I'd be worried to leave a tablet in my truck much less my dashboard. It gets in even hotter in other parts of the country like Nevada or Arizona. Or how about the other extreme, not sure how the tablet would hold up to freezing. I think having the ability to easily remove it from the dash when you park out side for any length of timer would be key.

          • Nick Rosas

            Relax dudes! It was a funny :p..well, for me it was

        • Kenny O

          How can you compare "seats/cup holder/carpet" to an electronic device? That makes no sense. This looks like a really good idea and props to the people that have done it, I just do see the tablet holding up in an extreme hot or cold climate. Like here in Florida.

    • Freak4Dell

      I've found that if I leave my tablet in the car where it's exposed to the heat (like in the top map pocket on my dash or on the seat or whatever), it gets extremely hot and shuts down. It seems to work fine when the car is on and the AC is keeping the interior cool, though. I suspect that putting it into the dash itself would block it enough from the heat that it wouldn't be an issue (after all, we've had stereos and navigation systems with screens for years), but I wouldn't know for sure.

      • Kenny O

        Good point. Where it was installed would be key. I think the safest solution would be the ability to pop it out if it was going to be an extreme weather day or on day the car was going to be outside a long time. Then again, you are right, the nav and other touch based systems really are not that different and they hold up......

        • Elias

          Problem is not so much the screen, but the lithium battery.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      In any practical sense, it depends entirely upon where you live and what temperatures it can reach, with a small chance that humidity might matter too.

      The screen, battery, and SoC are all technically sensitive to high temperatures. Technically, the Nexus 7 is recommended to have a top ambiant temperature of 104 F, but realistically it will be ok at higher temps, but I wouldn't recommend going above 110 F. If the tablet is mounted in a way that prevents airflow across the back, that's also a potential problem.

      The screen is NOT built to be temperature resistent like car decks are, so it could be damaged if it's left in a super-heated car for long periods of time. I lived in Las Vegas for a few years and I've seen some screens that looked terrible after enough exposure to heat. The screen isn't likely to stop working, but it will lose color quality and might form some dead pixels over time. The battery and SoC are both prone to permanent and sudden damage from high heat. The SoC will be fine in that heat if the tablet is asleep, but if the car is still hot and you start running the GPS, it will likely shut down the tablet (as a safety measure) or it could possibly overheat and fry the circuits. The battery, that one is simple... If it gets too hot, it can set on fire or possibly explode. Each battery is different and the failure point can vary.

      Cold weather is significantly less harmful, but it can cause very slow redraw rates (I've seen this while snowboarding, it's hilarious) and technically can have adverse effects on battery life (mostly irrelevant if it's always running on the car's electrical system). Technically, there's also a chance that the cold will cause condensation, especially when the N7 is notorious for having such a loose chasis...but this is pretty unlikely.

      A smart modder will make adjustments for these situations, but they aren't that hard to work around. Best thing to do is design the cavity in the dash to allow for taking the tablet out if you know there's a real risk. An even smarter modder will also design a cover that hides the 7" touch screen from would-be thieves :)

  • Chris

    I don't get why people do this. What happens if they sell their car? No one wants to buy a car with huge hole in the dash.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      Sell the mount and tablet with it I guess.

    • Freak4Dell

      Um...you could either leave the tablet in, or just put the stock radio back. Or, you could just give the buyer a discount. This is probably the one thing nobody even thinks of when doing this, because it's not an issue whatsoever.

      • Chris

        or the fact that no one really puts tablets in their cr dash boards expect for the nerds? (how dud they even get a license anyway with out leaving their moms basement?)

        • Freak4Dell

          LMAO...somebody is jealous they know nothing about cars or fabrication.

          • Chris

            oh trust me kid, I do.... if placing tablets in cars was so popluar then why hasn't everyone done it? Why cant you buy a car with a tablet already in it? Thats right. now move along..... this is a grown up discussion.

          • Freak4Dell

            You're hilarious.

          • spydie

            Chris you're an immature moron. Whatever happened to congratulating guys on their genius level of thinking instead of running down different ideas? Grow up and join the 21st century. It's guys like this that make the next Hula Hoop (and get rich).

          • LAD

            ^ Hey everybody, internet tough guy here! Fear him.

          • Don’t_Stop_For_Hitchhikers

            lol Chris, your picture looks like a hitchicker dude riding in someone else's car.
            No wonder your hating on everything to do with car ownership and customization.

          • Cheeseball

            Ask Honda, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, or hell, even any of GMC's marques. You can opt for touchscreen-based dash consoles on different price ranges.

        • Nick Rosas

          are you serious..only the nerds? wow!
          1. Not a lot of people do this because it takes time and money.
          2. You can pay someone, most like someone at a car audio shop near you will know how to do this.
          3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSnIXfoSU6I <does the guy seem like a nerd who never leaves his mom's basement?

        • http://twitter.com/TotesMcGotez Totes McGotes

          This handsome fellow: http://i.imgur.com/D8fxNXk.jpg Chris, who works at Walmart, is judging other people.

          Gosh, I wonder if you're projecting your own short comings? Hey, Chris, you lady-killer, you. Thanks for taking time out of your super cool busy schedule, and career at Wal-Mart to let us know who the nerds of the world are.

    • Sorian

      It doesn't look too hard to put the factory radio back in when it comes time to sell the car.

      • Chris

        nomally when you sell a car, you dont put more money in to it

        • Sorian

          Unless you are trying to make it better or replace a faulty part. I have done some modifications to the electronics in one of my cars from as simple as replacing the side mirror defoggers (factory part) to replacing the radio (to add support for USB and Bluetooth).

        • spydie

          I call bullshit on this... lots of people do just that. And what money are you talking about? It costs nothing to put the original radio back in! Like I said, you are a moron.

        • Cheeseball

          That's pretty stupid statement. You're not going to clean and shine up the car for a better sale?

    • mrbridger

      I bought a spare dash panel... ill replace the original if i need to sell car :)

  • Max Headon

    For better or worse, the English language now needs a new phase for dash-porn. Any suggestions???

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii
  • JG

    He really needs to add in some vocal controls.... "KITT start my road trip play list" "Of course Michael"

  • spydie

    I love his screen. Wish I knew exactly how he got that look! I'd love to have it. Maybe he'll do an app that will set our screen up like that?

    • Freak4Dell

      You don't really need an app. You could use UCCW and Simple Text to do it like the guy did. Or, if you're picky, like me, use Photoshop and Desktop Visualizer. I hate that the arbitrary grids created by launchers are never quite even across the whole screen (why they don't just let the pixels be the grids like on desktop OSes, I don't know), so I created the wallpaper with all the "icons" embedded in the wallpaper. Then, I just laid shortcuts over it, using a blank transparent PNG as the image for the shortcut.

  • MeCampbell30

    So how do you hit the power button if the battery dies?

    • mrbridger

      I have a post publishing soon on Landoftechnology.com that explains all. there is a fastboot command that makes the tablet power on when on AC instead of entering charge mode. the button on the right is an external power button too, :)

  • FrillArtist

    Wow. This is a little too much.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    To each their own on this sort of thing, but I'm pretty content with an auxiliary jack and somewhere to prop up my phone in the event I need in-car navigation. Unless that Nexus 7 controls the HVAC / other aspects of the vehicle, it seems kind of like a distraction waiting to happen.

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