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Author Topic:   Yamaha Outboards Mobile App
jimh posted 12-20-2013 10:08 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
I received a notice recently informing me of a new smartphone application for Yamaha outboard engines. I was curious and wanted to learn more, so I followed a link that promised to explain the features. This led to a recorded presentation that actually resides on youTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=cS6oParNss8

Based on what was shown in the presentation, the Yamaha Outboards Mobile App provides the following features:

--it is available for Apple and Android devices;

--if you register your Yamaha outboard (by some unexplained process) then your smartphone will be sent information about your boat and warranty. (The information about the boat apparently is for boats which were purchased new with a Yamaha engine. I cannot imagine that a boat re-powered by a Yamaha engine would be known to Yamaha and they could send you information about that boat.)

--view your outboard's maintenance schedule;

--locate Yamaha dealers and get information about those dealers; select favorite dealers and save the information about those dealers;

--view performance reports about Yamaha outboards and select some to be favorites; share those selected reports with others via email;

--participate in some way with Yamaha in a social medium, apparently hosted by the usual social media providers;

--view a list of frequently asked questions and answers related to Yamaha outboard engines; and,

--track your outboard engine during its break-in period. (It looks like the user enters information into the app and the app then responds to the user input, that is, the application does not actually connect to the engine to get data from the engine. I make this inference because there is a view of the application interface in which there are the usual iOS input rollers to dial up certain values of time or distance.)

I did not see anything in the list of features that seems to be evidence that the application on the mobile device is connecting to the Yamaha outboard engine on your boat. All of the information provided by the application seems to be generic information or based on input provided by the user of the application, not the outboard engine.

See http://yamahaoutboards.com/mobile-app?cmp=EOC-20131219_mainimage for more information.


Peter posted 12-20-2013 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I downloaded the app. I have yet to upload my outboards' info to see what that part does but the rest of the app is nothing more than a regurgitation of the Yamaha web site. Based on what I see I suspect that the my outboard info will simply tell me my outboards are out of the warranty period and provide me with a copy of the maintenance schedule published in my owners manual. I will probably delete the app in the not too distant future.
jimh posted 12-21-2013 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It sounds like all the actual information about your outboard is provided by you when you "register." You must go get the serial number of your outboard engine and then send it to Yamaha in some manner. Once you give them that information they send back to you in some manner not made clear some boilerplate information about your engine and its service intervals. Yamaha says they send it "to your smartphone", but I don't really see how they would know much about your smartphone, unless when you install the application it transmits some information to Yamaha so they can find your smartphone.
Peter posted 12-21-2013 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I think that pretty much sums it up.

This morning I was able to venture out to the boat and get the serial number off of one of my motors without undoing any of the Winter cover. When the app has your serial number, it does exactly what I predicted -- tells you when it went into service and then based on the applicable warranty period (two year in my case) when it expires (or expired in my case). It will also provide you with the maintenance schedule from the owner's manual. It does not provide you with any dealer service records, if any. That would be a valuable feature for people wanting to buy a used outboard and verify any representations that the motor was "dealer maintained" kind of like a "CarFax" report.

The dealer locator function does not show any dealers in my area despite the fact that there are several. All it does is provide a map. I guess that is useful if you just need a map.

Overall, the app is nothing more than formatting web information for a mobile device (dumbing it down). It is slightly more convenient than looking for the information on the website through a browser. No so much, however, that I would bother to use up storage space on the mobile device for the app. It has already been deleted from my mobile device.

jimh posted 12-22-2013 10:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the first-hand experience with the new Yamaha Outboards Mobile App.

For me it seems really strange that no outboard engine manufacturer has exploited the availability of very inexpensive (relatively speaking) and very sophisticated hand held devices like these iOS and Android mobile devices or larger tablet devices like the iPad. These devices provide an amazing array of sophisticated electronics and do that at a price point that could never be approached if the outboard engine manufacturer tried to make a custom device like that themselves.

Now, provided with a sophisticated electronic handheld device with GPS receivers, radio data modems, beautiful displays, radio networking, accelerometers, compasses, and so on, all that the outboard engine manufacturers can come up with to use is to show some static information from boilerplate documents. That is not very impressive.

This silliest one I have seen is the promotion of using a 2D bar code as a way to provide the user with information about engine maintenance. Really? You need a sophisticated optical recognition device to decode a 2D bar code in order to tell the customer he is supposed to change the oil every 50-hours? That is not technological progress. It is like hunting flies with a laser guided missile.

K Albus posted 12-22-2013 11:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I've had the Yamaha app on my iPhone for over a year. The only thing I ever use it for is to quickly access the phone number of my servicing dealership. The only other potential use I could see for it is locating a certified Yamaha dealership when you're away from home. Peter's report, however, seems to indicate that it might not reliably provide that information.
Peter posted 12-22-2013 05:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
It did not show the local dealers for my area on the map but I wonder whether it relies on knowing your actual current location to produce results rather than just showing them as points on a general map. I had the location services turned off. I've never had a problem using the browser on my mobile device to find phone numbers so I don't see that it adds much convenience.

My Yamaha motors do not have NMEA 2000 capability but they do have a modern electronic engine management system that can be interrogated with the Yamaha Data System. It would be nice if they developed an app that could be used to read data from the EMM with the mobile device plugged into a data cable. I miss the ability to read the EMM with a laptop capability that I had when I had Evinrude DFI outboards.

jimh posted 12-23-2013 01:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yamaha just sent me an email announcing the application a few days ago, so it is surprising for me to hear that this application has been available for over a year.

Also, note the date on the youTube video: it was posted December 18, 2013.

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