At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Spot LLC, and well-known GPS manufacturer DeLorme announced the world’s first handheld GPS and satellite communicator product. The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator will be the first handheld GPS capable of sending user inputted real time text messages from remote locations. This is clearly a significant advantage over the very limited pre-defined messages allowed using the existing SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger. Note that this is still a one-way device, it cannot receive messages via the satellite link. The following is distilled from the press release.
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The SPOT Satellite Communicator, designed exclusively for the new PN-60w, merges SPOT satellite message functionality and DeLorme state-of-the-art GPS mapping via wireless. Together, this product pairing offers broader messaging capabilities. Users can send freeform text messages using the PN-60w’s keyboard to select individuals or groups from the field even from remote areas world-wide.
Established SPOT technology allows real-time location updates and the ability to summon help in an emergency. Custom messages and waypoints can easily be shared with social networking sites like SPOTadventures.com, Geocaching.com, Twitter, and Facebook. As an emergency back-up, the SPOT Satellite Communicator has stand-alone capability to send location-based SOS notification to an emergency response center.
“Today’s announcement combines the latest in sophisticated handheld GPS with SPOT satellite communications providing one-of-a-kind, custom messaging and sharing of geo-location information with others in real-time,” said Peter Dalton, President of Spot LLC and Chief Executive Officer of Globalstar Inc. “We are excited to partner with DeLorme in bringing to market a new wireless GPS solution to consumers.”
“For the first time, people will be able to type custom text messages using the Earthmate PN-60w internal keyboard and then transmit wirelessly to the unique DeLorme SPOT Communicator for sending satellite messages around the globe,” said Caleb Mason, DeLorme Vice President.
Users of the PN-60w can easily manage their profile online including custom maps and message history utilizing a fully integrated user interface designed by SPOT. Information can be kept fully private or shared with family and friends using custom tools like SPOT Shared Pages and SPOTadventures.com.
As a stand-alone GPS, the Earthmate PN-60w delivers premium navigation features including a 32-channel GPS chipset, blazing-fast dual-core processor, 3-axis electronic compass, sensitive barometric altimeter, elevation profiles, and GPX file transfers.
At CES, DeLorme also will be announcing new worldwide map data for the PN-60w, including high-resolution color aerial imagery.
The PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator is scheduled to be available in spring 2010. The PN-60w and SPOT Communicator bundle will have an MSRP of: $549. No information yet on any additional charge for the text messaging capability over the standard SPOT Alerting and Tracking annual subscription of $100 and $50 additional, respectively.