Gizmo PAN, adventures in Bluetooth #1

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague.

6 Responses

  1. DefJef says:

    This is the way to go for the sailor who needs to consult digital charts / GPS in the cockpit on a small sailboat. I use a Garmin IQue 3600 GPS w/ Bluecharts PDA and find that this is more than adequate. I think ACM would be even better.
    Best few hundred bucks I spent for nav gear.

  2. Aaron Lynch says:

    Not to dis ACM but…
    NavX on the iphone is $50, and you’re done. No extra gps needed. In addition, it can get all of your instrument data via NMEA, or in my case bluetooth.
    Just another option, you do have to get AT&T which sucks a little bit but is pretty painless overall. 🙂

  3. ibsailn says:

    How are you getting Bluetooth data into an iphone? I was not aware of any profiles being available other than the headset one? The wifi instruments work quite well though. I am interested in seeing the iphone ACM when it comes out.

  4. The iPhone does not support the Bluetooth serial packet profile so you can’t currently connect to other devices. Building in a GPS to the 3G iPhone was the only practical way to get NMEA/marine data into an iPhone (although there are some issue with its GPS performance). Sure, there are WiFi bridges but most boats just don’t have those types of things installed, especially smaller boats.
    There are a variety of Windows Mobile devices today that have excellent GPS chipsets built in so the need to have an external GPS goes away. There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to all of the different phone platforms and operating systems. There is no one perfect solution – all of them have tradeoffs (just like all boats).
    On my boat, I have a ShipModul Bluetooth repeater for all NMEA data at my helm. That gives me connectivity to all of my non-GPS-integrated devices/phones while on the boat. When I jump into the dinghy, I have to put a tiny Bluetooth GPS into my pocket for those devices. It isn’t a big deal.
    I just cruised for a week in Maine by only navigating with my AT&T Tilt. It has an integrated GPS, WiFi, 3G, keyboard, kitchen sink, etc. It also has an antenna jack for our installed cellular amplifier and easily connects to our laptops giving us internet connectivity for them – even in downeast Maine! We had a continuous internet connection anchored at Roque Island for 2 days (it’s not the end of the world but you can see it from there). That’s a real Swiss-Army-knife of capabilities in one phone providing capabilities that Apple doesn’t have today.
    Of course, with all things cellular, wait a month and the world will be different. I really like Palm, Windows Mobile, and the Apple iPhone. And in a couple of months, Google Android will appear providing another platform to compare and contrast.
    It’s a wonderful time to be a geek.

  5. Chris Ellingsen says:

    Yes, the iPhone’s bluetooth support is very limited, they don’t even support the A2DP (stereo headphone) profile which is something you would expect from an iPod… I believe that Apple will fix this in the very near future, many things were left out of the iPhone as it was rushed to market but there will be updated software very soon… (a new version is already available to developers with many improvements)
    The AT&T Tilt (HTC 8925) is a really nice device but it runs Windows Mobile and Active Captain is only available on the (dying) Palm platform. I bet that wasn’t a problem for Jeffrey though, who I am sure had a nice beta version running on his Tilt…

  6. Yme Bosma says:

    When I first started Panbo I used simply because it was left over from another venture around Personal Area Networks and Bluetooth, hence the name PANbo. Bo are the two first letters of my last name.
    So now you know why Panbo is called Panbo;-)

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