Simrad GB40, somewhat familiar
There’s nothing online yet, but Simrad did debut its Glass Bridge 40 series at METS. It’s somewhat familiar because it’s obviously based on the existing Northstar 8000i system, but it is not just a rebranded product. For starters the GB40 doesn’t utilize touch screens, instead offering more conventional monitors in 10–, 15–, and 19–inch sizes, and the OP30 controller—which is shown below, and can sit in an inset cradle—is nothing like the 8000i keyboard. Plus the GB40 only comes in a black box version, and that box, unlike the 8000i’s, has a SimNet/NMEA 2000 connector on it. (Have I mentioned that 2008 is turning out to be the year of N2K!)
But keeping those changes in mind, and until Simrad puts up more info, the best way to understand the GB40 is to check out Northstar’s 8000i pages. I believe that the GB40 is going to have the same powerful network architecture I once highlighted (plus N2K), and will offer many of the same peripherals, including the HD radar and dash-mounted CD/DVD player. And it’s definitely a PC-based multifunction system using Jeppesen C-Map Pro cartography (which you know we’re going to hear more about in the near future). I’m told that Simrad hopes to have the GB40 available here in the States by March, and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more about it before then. I question a bit how well the heavily softkey-oriented 8000i/GB40 interface will work with just the OP30 controller, but overall this looks like a smart move by Simrad. The GB40 is going to look very nice in a helm full of other Simrad gear, and it’s all going to install very nicely with SimNet. And the GB40’s roots means that Simrad will soon be going up against the Raymarine G Series and NavNet 3D with a fairly similar system that’s already somewhat proven.