— July 2001
By Tim Clark
|Will the Raymarine Argonaut win over boaters made queasy by old onboard PCs?|
In April Xplore Technologies announced an agreement with Argonaut Computer and Raymarine to jointly develop and market an onboard computing system that will interface with a variety of navigational electronics and handle applications including chartplotting, radar overlay, e-mail, weather communications, and remote-sensor monitoring. Although computers designed or modified for use at sea have been around for years, Xplore's announcement is exciting news, mainly because of Raymarine's involvement. A PC stamped with the logo of a company of its size and stature may cause a sweeping change in boat owners' attitudes toward onboard computers.
What is that attitude presently? Squeamish. The median age of the readers of this magazine (nearly 95 percent of whom are boat owners) is 55. This age group represents one of the more PC-leery segments of American society: men and women who endured the dawn of the PC in the late `70s and may still have difficulty shaking memories of inscrutable green screens on the blink more often than on the job. Some of those who use PCs nevertheless feel forced to do so and continue to view them with a combination of resentment and suspicion. For them the notion of centralizing their boat's navigational electronics on such a machine is unappetizing.
There are also many who have managed, often because they own or head up businesses, to avoid altogether facing the dreaded screen and keyboard. What's the point, they say, when you oversee an army of employees eager to churn out another spreadsheet or word processor document?
This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.