And here we go – the first Radar with Wi-Fi interface that connects to your iPhone or iPad
for radar images. The Furuno DRS4W Radar was launched at the Stockholm Boatshow on March 7th 2014.
The Furuno DRS4W gets it juice from a power cable only – so no thick radar cable. The DRS4W then has the Wi-Fi module built in – and can talk to iPhones/iPad’s up to 10 meters away.
The radar is a “migration” of their normal 4KW dome radar. Just with “added” Wi-Fi. So hardware specs are 4 KW – 36 mile range – 24 RPM – 5.5 kg.
So what is not to like? Well – all of it – why would you want a radar with a proprietary Wi-Fi interface? That only connects to iDevices – and can’t connect to another network. So now for navigation and radar you need 2 iDevices. So in our humble opinion – this is nothing but a marketing ploy. But a good one. But iDevices are NOT ready to be main navigation equipment unless you have adequate shade since iDevices displays are not really bright enough to use outside on the water unless you use it in a cabin. If you have a cabin – you are probably in a boat big enough to have real marine navigation system.
Furuno could “fix it” by letting the radar connect to other “on the boat” Wi-Fi networks. That would help a bit. But the problem is radar streaming data – takes a LOT of bandwidth. So it could saturate a small Wi-Fi connection. Furuno could also make a dual use radar – so with cable AND Wi-Fi. But Wi-Fi as the only connection – not worth it at all.
It is almost as bad as the singleton device Wi-Fi in Garmin’s and Raymarine’s GPS. Please guys – give your customers some love – and don’t force them to play network musical chairs – changing Wi-Fi networks for GPS Access, Radar Access, Sonar Access and so on.
You will just sit around and be more in the iPad /Wi-Fi settings menu – than any application you have on your iPad.
Back to the drawing board Furuno….. (And same goes for YOU Garmin and YOU Raymarine)
Let your devices CONNECT to a SINGLE Wi-Fi Access-point – where iDevices can connect to – without having to fiddle in settings all the time… please…….
PRS COMM have the first commercial info : Click here with a price set at GBP 1195,- (US$ 2000) – delivery set for sometime in May.
Dagens Batliv (Todays boat life) has more launch info in Swedish : Click here
[Updated 30/06 2014]
Furuno has launched a website for wireless radar. Here is a Link
But nothing has changed my opinion that it is a waste of space device trying to ride the iDevice/Tablet wave.
Notice on even pan to iPhone or iPad in the video – Furuno changes to “screen shot mode” – and never lets us see what the screen looks like in real life. The issue is the screen’s on iPad and iPhone are hard to see outside. The only “real usage” scenario on the video is where they show the radar used in the cabin.
Please Furuno – tell us what the strategy is? Is the Furuno future Cable-less? Will the next MFD have Wi-Fi and connect to the radar? Then there could be “some” idea.
My suggestion Furuno – make a short range Wi-Fi radar – portable – low power consumption. Make it iPhone and Android AND PC/Mac compatible – so we can use Tablets / Computers with HIGH brightness screens. So it will be a truly portable system for use on small vessels and “backpack” usage. But the current version is a waste of space.