NMEA new guy, Digital Yacht
The one-day product exhibit at the NMEA Conference is never long enough for me, and I hope the manufacturers I missed—often the ones I know the best—took no offense (you know where to find me!). I put particular focus on companies appearing at NMEA for the first time, like Digital Yacht above. This U.K. firm has been operating in Europe for some time, and is larger and more diversified than even its extensive Web site indicates. For instance, principal Nick Heyes seen above, and bigger here, is also a principal at Marine Electronic Services LTD. At any rate, Digital Yacht is not only setting up a U.S. distribution and service branch, but also introducing an interesting new navigation system called Touch…
Here’s what a Touch 15 will purportedly offer for about $5,000: the black box below containing an Intel Atom processor running embedded Windows XP plus 15 gigs (I think) of solid state memory loaded with the worldwide C-Map Max Pro cartography database; also in the box are a full Class B AIS transponder, a GPS, and a high power WiFi transceiver; a 15” pilothouse-style touchscreen monitor with waterproof high bright options; and finally, a version of Nobeltec VNS MAX Pro customized both for touch and voice interfaces (the latter via a small speaker/mic or a Bluetooth headset). Touch will also come with a keyboard and mouse, and the whole system will be easily upgraded or restored with a memory stick. The idea of the WiFi is to take advantage of Max Pro’s easy “Quick Synch” chart update ability, and to provide simple e-mail via Digital Yacht. ClearPoint Weather will also be built in, and radar scanners will be available. But if you want to surf the Web, you may need an optional router to share the WiFi; Touch is meant to feel more like a MFD than a PC. Heyes says the system should be ready to ship in January, which may also be how long it will take to sort out Class B AIS issues.
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