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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainDog View Post
This does not really make any sense to me. Please elaborate.
It is slow, it has very limited graphic capabilities and did I mention that it is slow? It also has some inherent non-platform specific Java problems that make handling mathematical data inconvenient (all integers are signed, for one thing, you have very poor control of the structure size/boundary so reading binary data is never a matter of simply applying a structure, you have no way of creating compact memory structures because you don't control the layout - which matters even more on a platform with small amount of memory, etc etc)

While some of the performance limitations can be overcome with specifically formatted ENC chart data (i.e. not S57 charts , properly sub-divided and optimized data, which is how those road GPS programs work on very modest hardware), marine data is not usually so optimized and then Java lowers the plank too far to be able to effectively deal with it.

I am always glad to be wrong - that's how I learn. However, as it stands I know of only one Java-based chart product (it is an S57 chart rendering library) and it doesn't fly too fast on a high-end servers.
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Old 12-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainDog View Post
This used to be true, but due to JIT increases and language design factors, Java is now normally just as fast, or faster, than C languages. See for example: Java pulling ahead? Java versus C++ benchmarks
I am sure they can come up with benchmarks to prove every point My own benchmarks (which I run not too infrequently, because that's what I do ) show Java losing consistently on many simple operations. We just had a similar conversation on another forum (not sailing related, more IT oriented) and ran a few benchmarks on simple array/vector access. Java was slower by anywhere from 2x-4x. It gets worse with more complex operations. JIT certainly helps a bit, but it does not change the equation significantly.

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More to the point, what is so special about Navigation applications that they cannot be made to perform adequately for the Android platform when games, video, and goggle maps are quite adequate?
A lot actually. I am not too familiar with game development but I do know a few things about video and and also have a general understanding of technology behind Google maps.

Two points here.
1) Video is relatively easy to handle because formats have been created such that decoding is very simple. Mathematical complexity is moved to encoder, and decoder essentially ends up with a lookup table (I trivialize a bit but that's the gist of it). So, decoding video is a relatively light operation that can be done by modest hardware.
Google maps are even easier - there is virtually no local calculation, it simply displays the remote data in a browser. All the hard lifting is done on the servers, and for the purposes of your device Google map is "just a picture".

2) Both Google maps (or web browser) and video players on you mobile phone are decidedly NOT built in Java. They are very much native code, on Android or iPhone. Java is what the external developers have to work with for the Android platform, because that's what Google gives them. Google itself writes native code applications, and that is true for Android or ChromeOS. If they had to write a web browser or a video player in Java for the mobile device - I don't think you would enjoy using them too much. I could be wrong again, but I'll wait until proven so.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
sf - this may have been true in the past and for the iPhone itself, but Android phones most definitely do indeed have a dedicated satellite GPS capability.

My Android phone (Tmobile Mytouch 3g aka the HTC Magic) can give me positioning via GPS even when the phone is turned off (aka airplane mode)

Plus, there are GPS only apps out there as well.

It also offers Cell Triangulation as well...which is less intensive on the battery and fairly accurate in urban areas.
That's way cool then as I have held off on the exisiting smartphones like iPhone waiting for a real GPS. I'll have to take a closer look at the new Verizon Wireless Droid phones, and watch for the Google version in 2010..
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
While some of the performance limitations can be overcome with specifically formatted ENC chart data (i.e. not S57 charts , properly sub-divided and optimized data, which is how those road GPS programs work on very modest hardware), marine data is not usually so optimized and then Java lowers the plank too far to be able to effectively deal with it.
I have to admit you are making me think twice about jumping into this pond. I was seriously considering developing a Android chart app just for fun.
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  #15  
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Android Apps ?

Again ... this is my understanding.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am the product of a SC public school.

It is true that apps for iPhones and apps for Andoid will not operate under the same system, however the problem of each type of phone having independent systems will be eliminated. That's why there are so few apps for BlackBerry. The BlackBerry Storm phone functions differently than the BlackBerry Curve . So you end up writing code for 20 different types of phone. Android will put all phones, other than iPhone of course, on a single system. Opening the door for developers to design apps for phones other than the iPhone.

Did that make sense to anyone but me?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captsmoe View Post
Did that make sense to anyone but me?
I am not following you. Are you saying that all phones will become Android phones? All phones will run a JVM? For example how will Blackberry and WinMo phones run Android apps.

Not doubting what you are saying, just do not understand what you are saying is going to happen.
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Please doubt me. I doubt myself regularly.

It was explained to me that phones will be like MAC and PC's. No matter whose PC you purchase, all software designed for a PC will work. Phones will be the same. All phones, other than the iPhone, will be capable of running apps under the new Android system.
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Old 12-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainDog View Post
I have to admit you are making me think twice about jumping into this pond. I was seriously considering developing a Android chart app just for fun.
Actually, while i wouldn't do that (primarily because I already have a navigation application to deal with, that can't be ported to Android ) - I say go ahead.
1) You *will* learn a whole lot, and it will make you a better engineer one way or the other.
2) You may not make charts work really fast or look good, but you may during development come up with other ideas that may work well. For example - you can definitely make a tide application, or something that puts waypoints on google map etc.
3) And of course I could be wrong and there could be a way to display ENC charts (or RNC may be) well enough that you will end up with a usable application.

So, don't doubt yourself - try it. If it works - you win, if it does not - you still win, in a different way. Personally I only regret that I started working on navigation products as late as I did (and then only because I was not happy with any other existing product ).
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Old 12-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captsmoe View Post
Again ... this is my understanding.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am the product of a SC public school.

It is true that apps for iPhones and apps for Andoid will not operate under the same system, however the problem of each type of phone having independent systems will be eliminated. That's why there are so few apps for BlackBerry. The BlackBerry Storm phone functions differently than the BlackBerry Curve . So you end up writing code for 20 different types of phone. Android will put all phones, other than iPhone of course, on a single system. Opening the door for developers to design apps for phones other than the iPhone.

Did that make sense to anyone but me?
Well, they assume that "all phones" will somehow run Android. I sincerely doubt that. In any case, before Android came around, we had J2ME (Java for mobile devices) practically on every smart phone. And yet very few software came out for most (and certainly not for "all") phone models.

The problem with phones is that they are, right now, way too different. There is more difference between any two phones than there is between a Mac and a PC (in fact Mac and PC nowadays are pretty much exactly the same hardware and if you are careful, have enough in common in software to get by with one application too). Manufacturers keep phones incompatible precisely because they want to tie developers, users and apps to one platform - theirs.

I don't know if this will change (don't have a magic ball). It would certainly be beneficial to consumers in the end - but phones are not PCs, they are tied to manufacturer and the wireless provider so too much is at stake for these guys to relinquish control. I wouldn't bet on a common cell phone platform for quite a while.

(And if one comes out, I would certainly hope that it's either "something else" or Google opens it up and lets developers develop real native software for it)
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I am old enough to remember even we had punch cards running Cobalt, SAS, DOS, Fortran, WatIV and V. All different operating systems. I hope that the phone manufactures can see the benefit of standardizing on some unified system. For the sake of the consumer.
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