When I saw the handiwork of the two intrepid DIY'ers featured in this post on Nexus 7 car mount projects, I'll admit - I was impressed, if only for their quality execution.
Cars have always been an interest of mine, and the current "infotainment center" paradigm many automakers are pushing onto customers really does suck in a lot of ways. Pay $1500 for a crappy nav system that's hard to use, complicated, and woefully outdated in a couple years' time. Sounds great! But even the best systems (a title I think VW and its subsidiaries currently hold) are lacking. Nav maps are ugly, hard to read, and rarely up to date. And, of course, there's absolutely zero standardization. Most of these systems end up being used as little more than fancy auxiliary jacks outside of long road trips.
So, what do most of us do? We whip out our phones (with or without car mount) and tell Google where we want to go, and plug into the stereo with the headphone jack or link up via Bluetooth. And that convenience is supposed to be worth $1500 or more. Right.
What if there were another option, though? I mean, based on the two custom jobs in the post I linked to at the top, it really doesn't seem all that hard if you have a basic knowledge of in-dash wiring. Aside from the customized portions (which are only necessary because no one makes a kit), it's not that complex a task. Sure, you'd probably be limited to a few dozen popular vehicles at the start, but that's something. Heck, if the aftermarket stereo industry exists, this can certainly be a thing, too.
While I personally can't say I'd be interested in one (I have my reasons), I can definitely see a market for something like this. There are drawbacks: a tablet isn't really designed for use in a car, or to stand up to extreme heat / cold stress. It probably won't ever be able to interface with vehicles controls like HVAC, or really anything beyond the stereo. But with a tethered connection, voice search could be a powerful tool.
What I'm getting at here is this: if there was a company out there that made a dash mount kit for the Nexus 7 (as an example), in which you provide your own tablet, would you buy one? Or is the answer to the 'smart dash' conundrum something more in-between, like an app or other software interface? Sound off in the comments.
- Carrier-unlocking your smartphone isn't as legal as it was last week.
- HTC forced a popular RUU (ROM) hosting site to shut down.
- Verizon and AT&T swapped a bunch of spectrum.
- NTTC DoCoMo is releasing a whole bunch of phones this summer. Like this Panasonic, and this NEC. And the Optimus G Pro.
- HTC is making a mini-phone for your phone. If you live in China.
- Samsung announced a new ruggedized phone, the Xcover 2.
- Someone did a hands-on with the new ASUS MeMO Pad.
- The Nexus 4 will go on sale at one retail outlet in Australia on February 1st.
- Sony announced the Tablet Z.
- This is probably HTC's new flagship phone.
- The Pebble smartwatch app is now in the Play Store.
- Developer Economics 2013 Report.
- Tasker is now holo.