The development of this project and design choices

 

Defining my goals

 

When I first started thinking about installing a tablet, the essential functions and applications included:

 

  • Performance & diagnostics monitoring (Torque)

  • Music (Pandora & Rhapsody)

  • Navigation (Waze & Google Maps)

  • Local search (Yelp, AroundMe, GasBuddy)

 

As I began to research these applications the list expanded to add:

 

  • Weather (RadarCast)

  • Podcasts (DoggCatcher)

  • Track timing and data collection (Harry's Lap Timer)

  • Police monitoring (Scanner911)

 

I also wanted a fixed installation to try to give a factory-installed appearance,

and I wanted to preserve the stock look retaining the Cubby door to cover the

tablet when it is appropriate to conceal it.

 

 

Narrowing the options

 

My requirement to be able to run Torque for performance and diagnostic monitoring automatically excluded iPad, Windows and Linux devices as Torque is only available for Android devices.   I had no experience with Android devices, so as I began to research them, I was led to the xdadeveloper forums. Here I began to discover a wealth of information about the many available devices and OS customizations available to optimize devices for the carputer environment. This also led me to discover Timur's USB ROM and the RootzWiki forum which discussed a custom ROM and kernel for the ASUS Nexus 7 tablet.  The more I read, I began to understand just how important and necessary this customization is to make the tablet more suited to be installed in the car.   

 

The most important changes provided by Timur's USB ROM that caught my attention were:

 

  • Automatic switching between deep sleep mode and wake-up when the ignition is turned off and on.

  • Being able to use Fast-Mode charging to keep the tablet fully charged, while still connected to USB peripherals.

  • Automatically resuming applications when waking-up after power is restored.

  • Enabling USB Host mode to be able to connect USB peripherals such as flash drives, keyboards, and USB DACs.

  • Providing USB audio connection, so that I could dedicate my Bluetooth connection for the On-board Diagnostics (OBD) device.

 

In summary, I found the enhancements provided by Timur's USB ROM make the Nexus 7 the ideal tablet for the functions and applications that were most important to me.  Since I had no previous experience with modifying the tablet operating system, I was also relieved to find the dedicated RootzWiki forum to guide me through it and to answer my questions.