Saturday 25 May 2013 09:28 UTC
This forum is for anything to do with light aviation
While the Ipad/SD bandwagon rolls on while Andriod products are shunned my question is where is NAVBOX???
Why isn't Peter's team coming to this forum and asking for assistance in developing a new product in exactly the same way Tim did? Let's not forget SD does not own copyright on forumites ideas and assistance in developing software. NAVBOX already have an unassailable nav data set and considerable loyalty from their long time users. There also appear to be enough forumites with Android products for NAVBOX to make that it's focus for it's first in cockpit product. A modern VRF/IFR planning product using NAVBOX Pro capability as a base line, priced as NAVBOX Pro running on PC and Android would I think recover market share from SD.
I do hope not. We don't want another Garmin situation. We need competition so anything that can be done here to encourage Peter and his team can only help. Two obvious opportunities, combined VFR/IFR and Android beckon.
I still prefer Navbox presentation and use Skydemon only because Navbox isn't available for my ipad. I don't use the Skydemon as a GPS though because I prefer to use the Aera and GTN in the aeroplane.
Extremely grumpy PPL/IR
Fond memories of printing out a quickplan plog (or proplan if I was feeling rich) and heading off into the blue yonder.
Or idling the hours in the office planning routes.
If Navbox were to be re-issued for additional platforms e.g. OS X and iOS, I'd snap it up.
For me, its simplicity and small footprint is its best feature.
Is it still only available on CD-rom?
I suggest the only reason SD exists is because of a void that opened due to the lack of development of Navbox - not that Navbox didn't or doesn't function well it is just that you can see the business of model of selling data rather that constant development was sufficient for the owners.
The reality of niche market software today is that you find the software you want to use and then take whatever platform it comes on.
It simply costs far too much to develop software and maintain it for many different platforms.
SD is a windows programme written in C# that was ported to iOS - using MonoTouch allowing them to re-use some of their existing code. Still the amount of work involved must have been huge. Xamarin also make tools for Android to assist porting those apps so the door is not entirely closed but what you need to remember about Apple is that they have a limited hardware platform base - meaning it is cheaper (and in the case of niche software - economically viable) for the developers to support.
Can you imagine a small business having to field support emails about how their app doesn't run on some obscure device running Android version X and an unheard of GPS chip? Sofware gets bad rep. through no fault of its own. With iOS you have a handful of devices and testing takes a fraction of the time.
SD are good in that they offer a free trial, so you could d/l it onto whatever device you're running Android on and see if it works.
If not, then you haven't paid any money so nothing lost.
If it does, you can pay up and continue to use it.
Guaranteed 100% iFree
Quite possibly sent from my Nexus 7 which cost 400 quid less than your iPad.
Capitalisation is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse
UH? No one rings up SD to complain it won't run on their iphone so why would they ring up Navbox asking why it won't run on their android phone? The early game industry handled this simply by specifying the hardware and resolution they would support. Outside that forget it. Nav software is hardly graphics intensive. There is no reason why Naxbox could not specify a couple of supported specs/gps chip and screen resolutions in the same way Apple do with ipad. I've not cut code for many many years but I did download (free) the Android ADT last night to take a squint at it. There are certain resolutions which dominate, 800x400 being an obvious one. This is a Java development environment so porting has a head start.
Based on some limited exposure to Android, but years in the software industry, those who are highlighting support have it dead on.
It is easy for 90% of the cost of software to go on support costs. It is also not unusual for 90% of the support costs to come from 10% of the customer base.
Although limiting the "supported" platforms is an attractive idea it is not really practical :
Let's say you declare "We will not support Android phones, only Tablets. "
Still far too many.
So you then state : "We will only support Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Note, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10".
Firstly that means buying those four tablets and running regression tests on them all. Expensive, but not hugely so. However, already more costly than the iPad scenario - these are just the current tablets whereas there are only two "current" iPads.
But secondly it means supporting each version of Android those tablets might be running - some have moved up to 4.2, some are still on 4.0, some on 4.1.
So the costs just went significantly higher - now not just four sets of tests but 4^3 together with time having to wipe/upgrade/downgrade the tablets or have multiple images of each (and an image is never going to be a perfect test as Nav software is very hardware-related, e.g. GPS)
Next up you have to deal with rooted/unrooted tablets together with any that have been hacked around by network operators.
Nothing insurmountable, but it ignores the primary problem at the root of supporting Android : your helpdesk will be swamped by
1) People ringing up to declare the software won't install. Each call will take time to resolve - even when it is simply down to the hardware that person using not being on the approved list and thus being blocked by the Play Store.
2) People ringing up to declare the software doesn't work. Android apps are easy to side-load. So people will bypass the Play Store limitation and install it on their non-supported tablet. But your helpdesk then have to waste time determining that it isn't supported. Or arguing about why it isn't supported.
In the real world, you can't just ignore customers who are pestering. Tim was able to say "We don't support SkyDemon Mobile except on our own hardware" because that made it easy to cut the call dead from the start. Supporting a piece of software on "some" hardware and not others is a different ball game.
I work in a totally different area, with "proper" software which has carefully produced release cycles, supported platforms etc. But IT departments - who should know better and must have been through an internal change control review before installing - still blithely stick things on unsupported systems then come running crying that it is broken.
Individuals with their own hardware are an order of magnitude harder to handle.
It is easy to see why any hardened developer won't go near Android and is deeply in love with the controlled environment of iOS.
I guess because the developers were able to test it on every iOS device out there (as there are so few) making support manageable (and affordable) which makes the platform attractive. Why get bogged down in specifying hardware requirements. People just want it to work. Look at ForeFlight - you would think that with the market there being so much larger they would invest in Android but - no, a mature product and no Android. Now, translate that kind of app to Europe where the market is smaller and the users are often tightwads ( to paraphrase PeterH ) - and you can understand why a NICHE MARKET DEVELOPER WITH LIMITED RESOURCES would head for the most commercialy viable option.
It matters not a jot to me either way, but we get these fatuous threads from time to time complaining about why X doesn't work with Y. If a commercial imperative exists it will be fulfilled.
Last edited by kilburnflyer on Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I know nothing about Android, but JAAMOI why is this any different from, say, people using iOS4, iOS5 or iOS6?
I didn't make it very clear, sorry - the "current" Android Tablets could be running anything from 4.0 to 4.2 (or even 3.0 - there is still stock out there). The "current" iPads both run iOS6. In addition, everyone with an iPad can run iOS6 whereas non-technical Android owners are quite often stuck on whatever version came with their platform. Thus it is a lot easier for a software house to state "iOS 6 only" without disenfranchising a large portion of their customer base, whereas on Android stating "4.2 only" would mean people wouldn't be able to run it on tablets that are on the shelves today.
Peterh - I think the point has been missed :
It's quite possible to support Android as an anonymous company with an "email support only and we'll ignore it" policy (99.9% of the Apps).
It is also possible to support it on a "1 million users at £10 a pop" basis
What isn't practical is setting up to sell 1000 copies at £100 a go as a known-person (aviation is a small world) and be wide open to people who will pester you for months about supporting their obscure combination of hardware.
Look at the barracking TIm gets on here for a minor bug in SkyDemon ...
If only that were always the case. The problem with SW development is the people who understand what can be achieved are seldom the people with the money to do it. This sort of thread at least gets the issues discussed and Navbox may (just may) be enthused to relook at the situation. This matters to me because we have just spent £18,000 upgrading to Garmin kit because there was no alternative. We probably spent twice what we would have had there been competition.
Lets not forget the same negative things were said about Linux 10 years ago by M$ zealots as there are now about Android by the Apple groupies. Nowadays however Linux runs the Internet and M$ are dust in the server market.
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