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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Which Smartphone for Sailing
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Thread: Which Smartphone for Sailing Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-09-2013 02:06 PM
Minnewaska
Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
...I also wonder if Garmin et al don't subtly encourage this thinking... After all, they have single-purpose devices to sell that are being rapidly made obsolete by phones and tablets.
Amen. I was in a rental car and hit the Siri button on my iPhone and asked "where is xxxxx restaurant". I was out of town and recalled going there on a previous trip, but had absolutely no idea where it was. She replies, "there is xxxxx restaurant about 2 miles from you, would you like directions?" I say yes and the phone automatically switches to the Map app and begins to speak turning directions. No typing addresses, I wasn't even sure what town it was in or if I had the name right. What in the world do I need a Garmin for?
10-09-2013 01:29 PM
Minnesail
Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View 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.
...
I'm sometimes amazed at how much misinformation there is on this.
Agreed. Part of it may come from people not realizing that you have to download the charts while you have WiFi so that the GPS will work when you're out of range.

I also wonder if Garmin et al don't subtly encourage this thinking... After all, they have single-purpose devices to sell that are being rapidly made obsolete by phones and tablets.
10-09-2013 01:27 PM
Group9
Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

Whichever one you get, get a waterproof case for it.

My Iphone went tits up this weekend when I soaked it in salt water. Crap!
10-09-2013 10:26 AM
Cap'n Russ
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.
10-09-2013 06:03 AM
Minnewaska
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.
10-09-2013 05:53 AM
Solandri
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.
10-09-2013 12:37 AM
chef2sail
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.
10-08-2013 11:51 PM
tdw
Re: Which Smartphone for Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
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.

10-08-2013 11:22 PM
PaulinVictoria
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.
10-08-2013 07:06 PM
hellosailor
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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