Part 2: Hearty Hardware
By Brad Dunn — December 2000
This fall Seattle-based OceanPC upgraded its MicroPilot and Commodore III onboard hard drives to incorporate the latest technology from Intel. The MicroPilot Pro, which can operate any PC-compatible software, comes with a 500-Mhz Pentium III microprocessor, 128 MB of RAM, and 13.5 GB of storage memory. It retails for $2,499.
As for laptops, the company's flagship is the Intrepid Pro, which is packed with a whopping 600-Mhz Pentium III with MMX, a DVD/CD player (for both movies and music), and a 15-inch crystal-clear display. Prices start at $3,699.
But OceanPC's president, Tom Isaacson, says the company's most significant product improvements of late have been in displays. Take the 1210EQ, a 12.1-inch, daylight-readable, color display that was unveiled at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Built from cast aluminum and equipped with an internal fan to evenly dissipate heat, the display is the company's most durable to date, according to Isaacson.
The new line includes an on-screen Hula mouse that avoids the wear and tear produced by a regular mouse. The 1210EQ also comes with an automatic dimming function that decreases internal heat by cutting screen brightness in half. (The feature only kicks in when the monitor gets too hot.)
Now that computers are getting tougher, Isaacson says boaters are moving to PCs in droves. "We've seen it everywhere," he says. "Once boaters have a PC aboard, they never go back."
NetSea has also been taking its marinized hardware into the 21st century. This summer the MaxSea division of the Pocasset, Massachusetts-based company finished developing its NavTouch II unit, a touch-screen device that combines the functions of GPS and chartplotter. Available with 12- and 15-inch screens, NavTouch II comes loaded with Windows 98, a GPS or DGPS receiver, MaxSea Navigator software, and Maptech Region 1 charts.
The scratch-resistant, waterproof touch screen was designed for your flying bridge or other auxiliary station where space is tight and touch-screen technology makes access easy. At press time pricing wasn't available, but the product should be in stores by the end of the year.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.