Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why aren't Android chartplotters as good as iPhone ones?

End of last year I moved from an iPhone 4 to a Nexus 5 and mostly the migration has gone fine. But I can't help but notice that the chartplotters on offer aren't quite as good.

On the iPhone I had both the iNavX application and also the Navionics application, and both could do more than just display charts.

In particular iNavX I used on the Arctic Sail could not just calculate VMG and COG but also download and show GRIBs. Navionics requires some add-ins to get the nav features which I haven't purchased, and maybe that's why I preferred the iNavX.

But on the Nexus 5 running Android the options are more limited. There is no iNavX app at all and the Navionics app is restricted, without the navigation options such as VMG.

It seems rather odd - after all Android is currently outselling iOS pretty much everywhere.

Hopefully in the future Android chartplotting apps will improve - but maybe I missed one of them?


O Docker said...

The reason for this is simple, but little publicized.

Sometime last year, Apple quietly secured worldwide patent rights for the use of the word 'good' as it relates to software for mobile devices. As a consequence, any app deemed 'good' by applicable industry standards and intended for use on a non-iOS device must pay a licensing fee to Apple.

Many software publishers have been stymied by this and are now forced to supply apps with a reduced feature set for the Android platform.

Chris Partridge said...

Developers don't like android because of the huge number of screen formats they have to cater for.

Chris Partridge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JP said...

Latest from Navionics:

"We hope to have these upgrades available soon to our Android customers as well, but a time frame is currently unknown"

From iNavX:

"No such plans"

I was given a demo of the Bootstrap web page framework recently and that seemed to cope with range of screen formats so hopefully something like that can be used on Android as well. Most now handsets have a similar rectangular shape which should ease things a bit.