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  #21  
Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

Washing machine? A thousand year ago I sent a cheap Bulova Caravelle wristwatch through the wash, still in my bathrobe pocket. Once I snapped the crystal back on it ran just fine, but that doesn't mean this is a recommended procedure.

Standard advice, with good reason, from every (every!) electronics maker and repair shop, is if you get electronics wet, pull the battery AT ONCE to prevent damage. A particular device may or may not suffer immediate damage, but you've got no way to tell that unless you te$t a couple of them. And bear in mind, salt water is a much better electrolyte than the potable water in your washing machine. Much greater potential for damage.
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  #22  
Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jak View Post

I would not "rely" on my phone as a primary tool, it is more or a convience for me. I am in the Puget Sound so the vast majority of my navigation is dead reckoning in waters I am farmilliar with, but it is sure nice having all these tools in my front pocket.
I agree. I primarily use my iPhone (currently) and iPad as a back up to my chart plotter, but I have learned the hard way to use up to date paper charts when going into a harbor or area I'm not comfortable with, since many of the charts for the hand-helds are not accurate enough or not up to date.

Still, it is nice to be able to pull out the phone and check position (GPS function) as well as call up weather reports, radar, and even AIS at times. Plus I use the smartphone for racing rules and apps, and to take photos of certain points on land or lighthouse/buoys for later reference. In an ideal world, I'd buy a smart phone that integrated nicely with a good quality chart plotter..... I'm not sure we're there yet.
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  #23  
Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

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Originally Posted by Invictus View Post
If I am not mistaken the GPS feature works as part of the 4G/cellular connectivity, so I guess it won't work on the open where there is no cellular reception, am I right?
I can only speak for Apple products, but for both iPads and iPhones this is *not* the case. The iPad model that comes with 4G also comes with a GPS receiver, but they are not related. It will use cell towers and WiFi networks to establish a position quicker, but the GPS works fine without them. In fact when I'm on a trip I turn off 4G and WiFi to save battery.
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Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

"If I am not mistaken the GPS feature works as part of the 4G/cellular connectivity, so I guess it won't work on the open where there is no cellular reception, am I right?"

Five year ago, that could be said of most or all of the phones on the US market. While the rest of the world was using phones that directly accessed and resolved GPS data, the US cellular carriers (the carriers, not the phone makers) all required the GPS sets to be crippled in the US version of the phones, so that US phone suckers, ergh, customers, had to pay an extra $10 per month to the carrier to use the GPS data. Since the phones only contained the GPS receiver, they had to connect to the carrier network to resolve the data and give you a position.
Nice way to pick your pockets, isn't it? And they swore that would never change.

Then the carriers found out they didn't have enough data capacity to deal with a stream of GPS requests, so they allowed US-market phones to carry independent GPS capabilities. Now, pretty much all of the smartphones in the US use multiple AGPS (assisted-GPS) modes when they can, and direct GPS (standalone) mode when the network is not available.

I'd assume that means the older iPhones were all carrier-compliant and required AGPS, while the newer ones certainly do not. Maybe the change came in around the 3rd generation?
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Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

I have a Sony Xperia (Android). Waterproof to a meter or so, plenty good enough for use in the cockpit. Nice size, not too big, not too small, nice bright screen, pretty tough (have dropped it onto stone floors a few times now with no visible damage). Proper GPS, I like it. I have the Navionics app on it, along with a few generally useful GPS applications, forecasts etc.
Only issue I have found is the GPS can take an age to get a fix.
I wouldn't use it as my primary tool on the boat, anything handheld is always at risk of going for a swim, but as a "pull out to look at other areas of the chart without messing with my plotter/paper", or a check on the forecast device it's great.
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  #26  
Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

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I've got a Samsung Galaxy phone which is I reckon pretty damn good. While I've never used it for chart plotting, simply having a basic GPS function is no bad thing if your plotter goes down, you are coastal and have paper charts. Not much use offshore but that's another story.

Recently added a Nexus 7 tablet. Primarily bought it for e books but it does provide a half way decent screen for charts. I've been playing around with Plan2Nav. Seems pretty useful.

Who is this Wombat fellow ? The man is a complete and utter moron. Any fool knows that the GPS function has absolutely nothing to do with cell phone range.

Of course I already knew that and was simply testing the rest of you.

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Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

I pad for integration and second Chartplotter also downloads to my Raymarine Chartplotter through Bluetooth.

I prefer Droid HTC One. Big, bright clear screen much lighter, thinner, and larger screen than I phone. Use it mostly in discussions at table as I pad is larger and easier to use on the bat as a secondary source.

Navionics on all three devices, I Los have Grmin blue charts on I pad for active captain, but I like Navionics charts better, epecially the currents feature.
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  #28  
Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"If I am not mistaken the GPS feature works as part of the 4G/cellular connectivity, so I guess it won't work on the open where there is no cellular reception, am I right?"

Five year ago, that could be said of most or all of the phones on the US market. While the rest of the world was using phones that directly accessed and resolved GPS data, the US cellular carriers (the carriers, not the phone makers) all required the GPS sets to be crippled in the US version of the phones, so that US phone suckers, ergh, customers, had to pay an extra $10 per month to the carrier to use the GPS data.
That's not true at all.

The calculations to get an initial GPS position fix are very complex. If you had a dashbord GPS navigation unit from the mid-2000s, it took a minute or two to do those calculations. Even on the 2010 Garmin I bought my parents, it takes about 30 seconds. Phones, which are designed to stay on for 16-24 hours vs. a few hours for a handheld GPS, simply didn't have the processing power to do those calculations in even a couple minutes.

Rather than force you to wait a a few minutes every time you turned on the GPS, the phone companies came up with assisted GPS. In A-GPS, the phone transmits the GPS satellite data to the tower, a big computer there does the difficult calculations in a couple seconds, and transmits the coordinates back to the phone.

Quote:
Then the carriers found out they didn't have enough data capacity to deal with a stream of GPS requests, so they allowed US-market phones to carry independent GPS capabilities.
The GPS data needs to be sent to the tower only for the initial position fix (when you first turn on GPS in a new location). After the phone has the intial position, the relative position changes are a lot easier to calculate and are done on the phone. Even an early-2000 phone can do those calculations on its own in real-time. Once the phone had its initial position, you could turn off its data and (provided you had the maps pre-loaded) it could track your movement just fine. That's how I used my 2004 flip phone with A-GPS to navigate to a destination in Canada, where I had no data service there. I just made sure not to turn the navigation app off after I'd crossed the border.

So A-GPS has almost no impact on data capacity.

Quote:
I'd assume that means the older iPhones were all carrier-compliant and required AGPS, while the newer ones certainly do not. Maybe the change came in around the 3rd generation?
Processors are a lot faster now and the phones can calculate the initial position in a reasonable amount of time.
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  #29  
Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

Just to add to Solandri's post, if you have no cell coverage or just don't subscribe to a cell plan at all, the GPS receiver will still work with the same precision. It simply takes a bit longer to make that initial fix, then you would never know the difference.

I'm sometimes amazed at how much misinformation there is on this. I think there are a couple of reasons. First, early generation smart phones had the ability to estimate your location based on cell towers, or something like that. Very inaccurate, but in the day, it was amazing to see that the phone even knew what town you were in! Second, devices like the iPad only include the GPS receiver in the model that has the cell receiver. They are completely independent, but bundled together, so some think one is necessary for the other to work.
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  #30  
Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

I used an HTC Evo 4g for over a year with good results until it died. Replaced it with the Galaxy S3 last November. I like the processor's speed but prefer the HTC user interface. I use Marine Navigator ( purchase version) and am quite happy with it. I've got all the NOAA charts for the Chesapeake Bay in raster form on the phone's micro SD card. Marine Navigator exports and imports .gpx files, so I can pre-plan races or set waypoints on my computer and then move them over or vice-versa. It also has a rouge editor, route follower and track capability but they're a bit cumbersome at times. I have run the phone with all the radios turned off except for the GPS receiver and got over 12 hours of use in the cockpit. I also use Windfinder (free version), Marine Traffic (free), Raindar (free) and Marine Tides (free). I've also got a bookmark to the Annapolis NOAA buoy real-time data page. With all that said, I minimize my phone use whilst at the wheel, I prefer to navigate using my eyes, the compass and shore references. Speaking of compasses, phones and tablets will cause significant deviation in the ship's compass readings.
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