Android tablet – complete multimedia solution for cars
With the advent of Tabs (tablets) on the market, they have begun to be used as a multimedia system in cars.
If you think about it, it seems to be the perfect choice to replace an auto DVD or a GPS. It can render music, movies, can be used as a GPS navigator, it has a Bluetooth connection for hands-free calls, and there are also apps, such as Torque, that display information about the functioning parameters of the car.
A tablet can also be used as an ICE system –or carputer- with optimum results.
So which Tab should we choose to use in our car?
According to size, 7’’ Tabs are perfect to use as a carputer, they are easily incorporated in the dashboard, and if mounted on a holder it doesn’t reduce by much the visibility of the driver.
The tablet must have the following functions/options: GPS and Bluetooth, and of course, if possible it must be connected to the Internet by 3G/4G in order to have an entire system permanently connected to the world wide web .
How do we install a Tablet in the car?
We have two options: either on a classic holder (like that of a GPS) or with a bit of initiative and some technical knowledge we can integrate it in the dashboard of the car.
You can find here some examples of integrated Tablets by altering the interior of the car:
The windshield or dashboard holder can be used for your Tablet mount or you can use a universal holder suitable for 7’’ Tablets.
How to charge your Tablet in the car?
Most Tablets are charged by a 5 volt USB cable so we can buy a USB car charger that has the suitable amperage or an outlet with multiple USB ports for the car lighter – taking into account that we will need to charge multiple devices according to our needs.
You can find some examples here:
How to render music from the Tablet to the car speakers?
Most Tablets have a jack audio output for stereo sound. If we intend to keep the original head-unit of the car, we will connect the jack output of the Tablet to a jack plug in the head-unit and so we will render music using the amplification on the head-unit.
Of course we can connect the audio jack ( from tablet plug ) to an 2 or 4 channel amplifier , and by pass the head unit of the car .
Also , if we decide not to keep the factory built-in stereo we could use an external USB Soundcard and an amplifier to play our favorite music from the Tablet.
There are a variety of Soundcards on the market, but we must be careful when choosing one and check its compatibility with the Tablet. Practically we will have in our car a system consisting of: Tablet->USB Soundcard->amplifier->car speakers. You can find more details here:
Additional functions: checking the functioning/operating parameters of the car.
Recently, Tablets have been used in-car to diagnose or monitor the car’s performance. With the aid of multiple apps for Android (such as Torque) and a cable connected to the car’s computer, we can get all the information needed in real-time on the Tablet’s screen. More information here:
There are also apps that enable using your Tablet as a phone in the car and ensure a more practical interface, such as Car Home Ultra presented here .
Of course we can also find other interfaces adapted to car usage among the thousands of apps for Tablets.
Mainly, on the home screen we must have access to a set of basic apps: music player, movie player, navigator, Bluetooth and browser.
There are some very well developed apps on Google Play for the above mentioned. For a safe and smooth usage there are also some apps that magnify the size of launch icons .
All in all a Tablet can be easily integrated in the car. We can watch movies and listen to music in our travels – we will always know our route thanks to the integrated GPS, you can look for accommodation using 3G/4G network, talk on the phone thanks to the Bluetooth function and dedicated apps and acquire real-time data about the functioning parameters of your car.
However, these are just a couple of ways in which you can use the in-car tablet, it is a flexible product as a carputer and many of its users will definitely find inedited functions and new ways of using it.