The age of smartphones and tablets has made just about everything a lot easier. There is an app to assist with almost everything from a simple torchlight to a compass and the more sophisticated gear needed to assist with boating, yachting and general water safety. Tablets have proven to be excellent for use as a marine navigation instrument and as an alternative to standard chartplotters.

Ultimately, choosing between an iPad and an android tablet for marine navigation will come down to personal preference. Choosing one or the other will be based on the preferred apps that each one supports, popularity, the overall layout and design of the system, price and other factors. Getting the right accessories and equipment to support your marine services is very important and requires as much research as possible. Both operating systems have their advantages so priorities will also play a part in the decision making.

iOS

IPads dominate the market when it comes to variety. There are several shared connections that users benefit from when a majority of their friends and family, also use Apple devices. According to IDC, Apple had a 34.9% market share in 2018. Apple tablets made techradar’s list  of top 10 best tablets in 2018 with 4 of their devices ranking in the top 5. The iPads on the list include iPad Pro 11 (2018) ranking as number 1, New iPad (2018) at number 2, iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) at number 3 and the iPad mini 4 ranking at 5th place. Other iPads that made it to the top 10 list include; iPad Pro 10.5 at number 6 and iPad (2017) ranking at the number 10 position. The devices on this list have been reviewed and ranked based on performance, battery life and screen quality.

Built in satellite navigation systems are very important for marine navigation to be functional at sea. Being able to connect to several satellite navigation systems is definitely an advantage for any tablet. The Apple’s operating system currently connects to GPS (American) and GLONASS (Russian) satellite navigation systems. An external satellite navigation receiver is best used to ensure adequate connectivity.

Apps downloaded from the Apple app store have been tested to ensure that they do not contain any malware. This protects the devices and prevents them from downloading any viruses or unwanted software. When choosing a tablet to use for boating or yachting activities, it is important to know which apps you want to use and which devices support them. iNavX is one of the navigation apps that is only currently designed for Apple. Garmin Bluechart Mobile is also only available for iOS. iPad users have access to a wider range of apps due to the popularity of the devices. This makes it so that several excellent marine navigation apps are only available on Apple.

Android

The android manufacturer with the largest market share is Samsung. In 2018, according to IDC, Samsung had a 15.1% market share. Huawei had 10.3% and Lenovo had 6.0%. the only android tablet to make it to the top 5 of techradar’s list of tablets to buy in 2018, was the Samsung Galaxy tab s4. The Samsung Galaxy tab 3 ranked 8th place on the top 10 list while the Asus Zenpad 3S 10 came in at number 9. This ranking is based on performance, battery life, price, and screen quality.

There is not a lot of variety to choose from when looking for excellent android tablets but the operating system does have several benefits that will better enable a number of marine services.

The Samsung Galaxy device is definitely the most popular android tablet and has a very high level of functionality. The tablet has the ability to connect to several satellite navigation systems including GPS (American), GLONASS (Russian) and BDS (Chinese). An external satellite navigation receiver will also be better used with this device to ensure optimum connectivity. Being able to connect to all these satellite navigation systems is definitely an advantage that android users benefit from.

There are many navigation apps available on the market to android users. Android devices can run apps such as Navionics, MX Mariner, Transas iSailor and Garmin Helm. Google play does not screen apps for potential malware but there are excellent antivirus software that can be used to protect the device from any viruses or unwanted software. Android devices can use USB connections to transfer data from one device to another and external memory devices to increase the available storage space on the devices. Android devices are also known to offer great battery life which will be essential in any emergency scenarios.

Before deciding on whether you should go with an iOS or an Android device for your water transport needs, it is important that you consider all the factors related to both operating systems and make an informed decision based on the benefits offered by both of them. It will definitely come down to personal preference but the systems do vary in the services that they offer so you will have to prioritize certain features. Before making a purchase, you should know the specific features that you need your navigation device to have and research which tablets offer those specific features.

Although technology makes things faster and easier, all boaters are advised by Canadian yachting to understand how to use hard copy marine charts and carry them along just in case they encounter some technical difficulties.

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