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Old 12-28-2013, 09:09 PM   #1
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Tablet Quandry

Hi all, I've become quite addicted to the benefits of my ipad 3 for backup chart plotting, and travelling communications while going up and down the PNW. I've also be come totally disillusioned by the terrible tech support and the endless un-necessary limitations that apple imposes. I'd be interested in hearing the groups opinions/experiences on non-apple tablet devices. I've had about enough grief from the ipad .....
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:38 PM   #2
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I use a Nexus 7 (Android) and my wife uses an iPad.

If YOU want control over your tablet, then you probably are an Android customer. But if you want the very smart company that made it to control your tablet then Apple is for you.

They are different and your statement indicates that you are ready to be an Android user.

Different strokes.....

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Old 12-28-2013, 10:47 PM   #3
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I like my Samsung note 8. I have Plan2Go, Jeppesens Nav software. It's OK but no substitute for a plotter. I've never talked to an ipad user that didn't like their ipad ... until now.
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Old 12-28-2013, 11:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by seaotter View Post
I've also be come totally disillusioned by the terrible tech support and the endless un-necessary limitations that apple imposes.....
Maybe you could be a little more specific about what you mean by your statement. I have had an IPad for a long time with 6 different nav programs on it and have not experience anything less than what I consider is a great product with great apps.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:24 AM   #5
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I have a Samsung Tab2 10.1 with the Navionics HD app that we used daily on a 3 week trip to the Abacos last summer. Found it to be very handy to be able to zoom into the harbor entrances and leave the Garmin 4212 on larger scale.
I also noticed that the Samsung was much better at picking up some of the weak wi-fi signals at the marinas.
Plus lots of weather and Nav apps are available in Google Play, many free.
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:27 AM   #6
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I use a notebook with an outdated version of Nobletec. I'm comfortable with it. I like to use the mouse and keyboard. I've practiced a bit with most of the apps talked about for android but still go back to the laptop. I don't use the dedicated chartplotter for anything other than a backup because I don't like moving around the screen with the cursor while standing up and looking up at the small screen.
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:04 AM   #7
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I have an android tablet (ASUS) and have not really found a great nav app. I'm in the market for an Ipad.
Wanna trade? LOL
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Old 12-29-2013, 09:19 AM   #8
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I don't use the dedicated chartplotter for anything other than a backup because I don't like moving around the screen with the cursor while standing up and looking up at the small screen.
Today's chartplotters offer a wide range of screens and options. My helm which is the fly bridge is not roomy enough for placing a laptop. Plus at speeds of 15-18 knots a laptop would surely be on the floor in no time.

A chartplotter offers radar overlay, AIS overlay, video monitoring and weather depiction if connected to a paid provider, along with a touch screen if desired. While a laptop can probably duplicate some of this, a chartplotter is specifically made to do this. No worries about security and the screen is bright enough to see in daylight/full sun.

I think the next gen of plotter will have full internet connectivity and the manufactures will be either making their own apps or contact with 3rd party software makers. Security issues will need to be resolved.
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:08 PM   #9
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The days of getting great tech support for a hardware product have been gone for a while. If you're unhappy with an Apple iPad, you're likely to be very unhappy with every other tablet. There's a certain amount of self-help that you just have to accept - searching for answers, asking in places like this, etc.

I have multiple Android tablets. They're all fine. But I doubt that if I needed help on the hardware that I'd get any real help from ASUS, Google, Samsung, or Motorola.
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:19 PM   #10
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Someday chartplotter manufacturers will figure out that a wireless mouse (or other pointing device) will be a plus.

Until then, laptops and tablets for me.

Specifically, Android phones and tablets running both Navionics HD and Plan2Go and a cheap laptop running Coastal Explorer, Polar Navy, and an old version of Nobletec.
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:38 PM   #11
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Someday chartplotter manufacturers will figure out that a wireless mouse (or other pointing device) will be a plus.
I just took two Garmin design engineers out in my trawler for 3 days. They're the ones designing the next generation chartplotters. There was a lot of discussion about the use of touch screens in rougher weather and the user-interfaces necessary to make them work better at tough times (when you really need everything to work well).

On our last day, we headed offshore Panama City, FL by just 3-5 miles. It was a 3-5 foot weather day with a nasty, choppy, 4-5 second period waves. It's the typical day when you wouldn't go offshore but we actually were waiting for these conditions to head out.

It wasn't bad at all in following seas but when we headed directly into the waves squarely, it created a difficult and uncomfortable motion. That was when we tried a variety of touch tasks to see what it was really like. I'd been there before and I knew - but the engineers hadn't.

The end consensus was that touch is a great way of using a chartplotter. In very rough conditions, it's better to put your palm against the bezel of the display but most of the time, that wasn't needed. Even dragging items around a screen was tried, all with great success. It has to be said that there are certain touch actions that are easier than others (long presses need to be out of any chartplotter).

I'm not convinced that a mouse would do as well. The direct visual feedback of your finger touching something and reacting makes a big difference. I think a trackball could give good results too but all common remote pointing devices require moving a cursor whereas your finger can instantly move to the area of interest instantly.

I think touch is here to stay.
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:32 PM   #12
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I have tried touch screens on a notebook running Coastal Explorer in rough water in a small boat while underway and that is a nonstarter with me. The best input was a trackball even when compared to a dedicated chart plotter with a keypad. I could keep one hand on the helm, and one hand planted on the trackball which was attached to the dash next to the helm with velcro. Even on my trawler it is much easier to lay out routes with the trackball than my finger. I used both an IPAD and Android tablet as a remote display on the upper helm from the notebook down below. My wireless trackball worked at the upper helm so I was basically manipulating Coastal Explorer from the upper helm while watching the screen display on a tablet. That worked better than using Garmin's IPAD app or Navionics on the Android tablet as Coastal Explorer is a much more capable navigation program and the trackball is easier to use than my finger.

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Old 12-30-2013, 01:05 AM   #13
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I have tried touch screens on a notebook running Coastal Explorer in rough water in a small boat while underway and that is a nonstarter with me. The best input was a trackball even when compared to a dedicated chart plotter with a keypad. I could keep one hand on the helm, and one hand planted on the trackball which was attached to the dash next to the helm with velcro. Even on my trawler it is much easier to lay out routes with the trackball than my finger. I used both an IPAD and Android tablet as a remote display on the upper helm from the notebook down below. My wireless trackball worked at the upper helm so I was basically manipulating Coastal Explorer from the upper helm while watching the screen display on a tablet. That worked better than using Garmin's IPAD app or Navionics on the Android tablet as Coastal Explorer is a much more capable navigation program and the trackball is easier to use than my finger.

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Old 12-30-2013, 01:14 AM   #14
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It was a 3-5 foot weather day with a nasty, choppy, 4-5 second period waves. It's the typical day when you wouldn't go offshore but we actually were waiting for these conditions to head out.
That is a typical day (not offshore) in which I would want to sit on my helm seat with a trackball or mouse, or tablet in my hand. Been there, done that, recently...

I suggest the Garmin engineers (from Wichita, KS) spend some time on the West Coast for a while. Not all of us cruise up and down the intercoastal. But, I suppose, that is their market.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:05 AM   #15
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Someday chartplotter manufacturers will figure out that a wireless mouse (or other pointing device) will be a plus.

Your dreams are answered , a new system creates a bubble around the operator and simply using hand motions replaces the mouse .So sez Popular Mechanics.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:28 AM   #16
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Even on my trawler it is much easier to lay out routes with the trackball than my finger.
Yeah, that's definitely true. I made them create routes on the Mac (HomePort) and the iPad. Touch isn't a good way to create a route - they know that. When I was describing touchscreens, it was for use underway and minor route edits. I don't think full route creation should be done directly on a chartplotter - the future is going to handle that much differently if my crystal ball is right.

Re Northern Spy - Garmin's autopilot production is in Oregon on the Columbia River. They often take boats out there. What they wanted to explore with me was the ICW and Gulf of Mexico/offshore - these guys hadn't done that before.

I applaud any manufacturer who wants their designers and engineers to spend time on the water. It is very rare to find any who actually do it.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:33 AM   #17
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I think ActiveCaptain has a good grasp of the future of plotters. Touch screen is here to stay and will probably be standard in all put the cheapest plotters.
I have a Ray E90W plotter which has both touch screen and a track pad. I rarely use the track pad. Cruising at 15 kts in relatively calm seas is somewhat like cruising in 3-5 footers in a displacement hull as far as the motion at the helm is concerned. I still use the touch screen almost exclusively. I'm sure I'll get some choice comments on this.

ActiveCaptain's comment about plotter developers not being familiar with boating and boating issues is interesting. I suppose requiring a software developer to be an active boater is asking a bit much and perhaps not practical. But with the amount of money Garmin, Raymarine and the other manufactures spend on development you would think hiring a firm to educate them on the product they are developing would be a no- brainer.

AC's comments regarding Garmin tech's accompanying him does seem to indicate Garmin has an interest in getting some real life experience. However AC's use of a chartplotter does not necessarily include all of us. Hopefully they will also get some experience with other types of boats that use a plotter exclusively and never depend on a computer or tablet, like me.

Garmin's forums are not at all geared toward boating. They have a homeport forum but nothing on individual plotters or plotters in general. Raymarine's forum is much better and I've been able to get answers quickly. However Raymarine is not listening. I've complained repeatedly about their 50 waytp limitation when creating routes (Garmin has 250) and no ability to display destination ETA or miles to go to ETA without at least 5 button presses. A stupid limitation that indicates Raymarine has no boaters in their software development division.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:38 AM   #18
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Touch isn't a good way to create a route - they know that. I don't think full route creation should be done directly on a chartplotter - the future is going to handle that much differently if my crystal ball is right.
Agreed. I always create my routes on my PC and transfer them to the plotter. Only in an emergency would I create a route on the plotter.
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