There are a couple of issues IMHO that need to be sorted out. (1) platform (2) operation system (3) apps and (4) connectivity.
1) platform: the issue here is the form factor not the operating system, a touch screen
that is daylight readable is a nice thing. Whats better is if its waterproof.
2) while Mac OS is very nice its a closed forum. Apple must approve all apps loaded onto their units. If they dont like your stuff, it does not go on officially. While its a good OS and open source OS allows for much greater levels of development
3) apps: apps are a good thing. They are always dependent on the SDK available for the operating system. MacOS is a closed system so not aps are portable. Android and MacOS will require a complete rewrite of OpenCPN to make them work on these platforms. Apps are good thing however especially if they can cache the data so that connectivity is not a requirement. Backups and disc images
(complete backups) are even better for when the systems die from hardware
failure or water
intrusion. Paper charts are still a requirement for navigation
. The other thing to consider, is it possible that some players are dumping their product to capture a market segment on a closed system?
4) connectivity: internet
connectivity via cellular or wifi
is a great thing. It is not pervasive however neither along the eastern seaboard nor in the Caribbean
. Apps that require connectivity to function properly are a limitation and liability as you start to rely on them. Apps that can cache data for a given route
are a good thing IHMO however the prudent mariner will have a backup system that includes paper charts even if only large scale and suitable guides for times when connectivity is not available as well as daily progress reporting to the ships log.
Favorite device not to be found yet? 10" linux
based tablet with wifi
build in, a daylight readable touchscreen that is waterproof, phone
connectivity is optional. Preferably an intel or Arm processor.