New DeLorme inReach - Looks like a sweet competitor for SPOT Connect

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Slappy McGee, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. Slappy McGee

    Slappy McGee Fatty Fat

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    I've been thinking about a SPOT connect, but recently saw this announcment from DeLorme:

    http://blog.delorme.com/2011/06/03/delorme-inreach-two-way-satellite-communication/

    It essentially combines a regular SPOT and the connect, and allows two-way communication. Hope they make a version for iOS as this looks like it'd be ideal for MC travel and backwoods adventure, esp. since the emergency responders can actually communicate with you.
    #1
  2. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    I'll be pleasantly surprised if there is an iOS app for Delorme's InReach. I would expect that the InReach requires Bluetooth Serial Port Profile to communicate bi-directionaly. iOS doesn't support SPP.

    If they do manage to make an iOS app that would be very interesting.

    Cheers,
    #2
  3. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    Don't hold your breath on the iOS.

    And maybe this is DeLorme's way of finally getting something to market. Since they are using Iridium's system, maybe this will work.
    #3
  4. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS

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    :kboom

    OK, no breath holding here. Apple is unlikely to every support SPP just like they most likely will not support external USB Storage.

    I understand why, but the InReach "satellite two-way pager" is getting kind of large and at the projected prices (unit+plan) a Sat phone doesn't look that expensive.

    Cheers,
    #4
  5. craftycoder

    craftycoder Motobrain PDU

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    This is a neat idea. I wonder if we can cut Delorme out of the middle and build an iridium radio cheap and rely on the phone for all of the other computing needs? You'd need to have a contract with the iridium people of course, but I suspect the crystal set is pretty cheap without their value added malarkey. I assume this radio network is slow like Spot and just a low power radio at the correct frequency. More research is needed...
    #5
  6. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    Iridium offers a satellite data transceiver module for integrating into custom devices. It's several hundred dollars as I recall. It's a serious challenger to the similar Globalstar (SPOT) module. I'm comparing them to decide which to include in a device I'm developing. Eventually I'd like to add an android app, not unlike what you've created, to add some additional features. :wink:

    Here's the Iridum module:
    [​IMG]

    And the similar Globalstar (SPOT) module:
    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

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    In.
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  8. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    Just to throw in my 2c as an iOS developer... their bluetooth API is closely limited in features (keyboards, audio out/in, call control, music control, communication with other iPhones and 3G tethering). I think it's jumping to conclusions to say they don't want to support other features, more likely they just can't be bothered as the bluetooth specification is a complete disaster. Chances are they will implement more of the spec one day.

    SPP is likely to be pretty high on the list of things they might add, since they already do something similar over USB. Though I'd put my money on developing a more modern protocol, instead of choosing an existing standard based on a protocol developed in 1962.

    For larger companies like DeLorme I bet Apple would be willing to work closely with them. The thing can track your footsteps if you wear specific Nike shoes... :huh That's a lot less useful than satellite communication.

    You can do anything you want communicating with custom hardware over USB, using the dock connector. Plain old simple arbitrary data transfer between your software running on the phone, and whatever hardware you build. Your hardware can even instruct a specific app to launch whenever you plug it in. So it's entirely possible for Delorme or anyone else to do whatever they want via that route.

    For example TomTom has a car kit with it's own GPS receiver that's too bulky/power hungry to build into a phone, as well as a bigger speaker to improve turn-by-turn directions, phone calls, etc.

    If I knew a bit more about hardware, i'd love to create a mount which charges my phone and hooks into the bike's ECU to record diagnostic info into a gpx file, which could be used to overlay speed/rpm/throttle position/temperature/etc onto a helmet cam video... :jjen :tb
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  9. craftycoder

    craftycoder Motobrain PDU

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    The iridium module seems impossible to get in the US, at least if you believe their website. I sent off an email to Globalstar sales and hopefully they will get back to me soon. If you are correct and the price is several hundred bucks for the modules then it's a nonstarter for me but if it's priced similarly to a GPS module in the $50-100 region I can see it being worth while. At several hundred bucks I'd need to discount the hardware and make up that money on a monthly subscription. That would require bookkeeping... yuck!
    #9
  10. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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  11. craftycoder

    craftycoder Motobrain PDU

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    If I were the satellite operators, I think I would follow the strategy of the mobile telephone operators and discount the radios in hopes of getting a lot of customers paying monthly fees. It seems these guys want to make their money selling radios and not the service.
    #11
  12. beechum1

    beechum1 Grimace Soup

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    I would think their target audience would be more interested in long term savings, than being able to by the cool toy AND pay rent. If I had the need and the means, I'd gladly pay the larger 1time for the smaller recurring. Otherwise, you have phone plans, that cost 100$ a month for what ultimately costs 20$ a month or less in overhead.

    If they really wanted to break into the market, vendors make it more accessible to the masses, but that will ultimately drive pricing down and let everyone have a sat phone. I don't see the market asking for that just yet.

    Just using round numbers, and IMO and all that.
    #12
  13. scottbed

    scottbed Been here awhile

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    I just got my SPOT device and it was part of a recall from last year. WTF!??!? Then I started reading more reviews on the SPOT device and it is getting panned.

    I returned it and will wait for the DeLorme device even if it is more expensive. I have an existing heart issue which is why I want the device when I travel out of cell phone range. I can't mess around with 'I hope it works'.
    #13
  14. MrMac

    MrMac Been here awhile

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  15. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

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    I disagree with the subscription fee comments.

    While I'd like to have a Spot, the subscription fee turns me away. I take 3 or 4 long motorcycle trips per year. Say 10 days each. Paying for 12 months of subscription when I only need it for 4 grates on me.

    So I don't buy these things and wait for something reasonable to come along.
    #15
  16. craftycoder

    craftycoder Motobrain PDU

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    The radio chip costs about $200 and the service also has a fee that the satellite operator charges. Honestly, DeLorme is selling thing at cost. I assume they have built a little profit into it by securing better prices than I could get by buy large volumes, but ultimately putting satellites into space is very expensive and these radios are not built in the volumes necessary to bring the chip prices way down.

    DeLorme doesn't have their own satellites, so they have to charge the monthly fee or raise the price high enough to cover the fees in some sort of annuity style calculation. Pushing the direct fees for using the satellites makes a lot of sense to me. I think this a great product. Now that I see the price I'd not even consider developing my own version, they are selling it at near cost for crying out loud.

    #16
  17. wparkinson

    wparkinson Gear Whore

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    I really like the idea of this product. I have a Gen II spot and it has worked for me thus far but it does have its limitations.

    I really don't like the every 10min update. Plus the 2way custom aspect of it is good to.

    I am a Delorme user already and have really enjoyed their products over the years. I started out with a Serial GPS many years ago. Now i have a USB that I use on my Dell DUO in my truck and a PN40 that I use on my bike.

    The fact that they are going to let you download the maps to your phone is a great feature. With the Purchase of the inReach and the monthly subscription you get the option to download the Delorme maps to your phone. That is great. Whenever my PN40 dies I will get a PN60/w and an inReach.... bye bye Spot.... I am sure that the price will come down quickly once it hits the market....

    I look forward to the release... now I just gotta save my spare change so I can get one when it comes out......

    WP
    #17
  18. thewilds

    thewilds Adventurer

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    I looked at the Spot Connect but discounted it because as a stand-alone device, it only has SOS and none of the other buttons of the Spot II (i.e. I'm okay, custom message, tracking). However, the DoLorme InReach seems to address those shortcomings, as a standalone unit, it has tracking, SOS, and what looks like the ability to dispatch pre-composed messages, pretty much what Spot II does. Then the advantage of the InReach kicks in, that is, if your cell phone is still alive, you can communicate by two-way texting.

    A retailer's website shows the monthly subscription for InReach starting at $9.99 or roughly $120 per year. There are no details how many free messages you get or the per message cost or what other fees are involved.

    For comparison, I'm into the second year on the subscription for the Spot II and I see the charges on my credit card was $180 USD. I was expecting something in the range of $149 but I see there is an $17.99 device replacement insurance cost and the annual $12.99 rescue insurance.

    Given the difference of $60 between the Spot II and the DeLorme InReach annual subscription, I'm sure for the times that I use the InReach, I could send quite a few text messages for $60. Otherwise. 99% of the time I'd be using the tracking feature. The 10 min. interval on the Spot II is fine if you're traveling at high speed in or on a vehicle. For hiking, a longer interval and therefore more battery life would be fine. Apparently with the InReach, you can set the tracking interval.

    The weak link in either the Connect or the InReach is the cell phone. At the rate smart phones consume power, the phone will die within days into the trip. Also it doesn't take much to mess up the phone, such as leaving it on, dropping it, or getting it wet.

    The devices are slowly getting there. . One day it'll be a waterproof, floating device that will fit in the palm of your hand, weighing no more than 175 g and have a mechanical keyboard and a small text screen.
    #18
  19. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    My understanding is that they may charge something on the order of $0.50 per text message. I haven't see that published anywhere for the inReach, but another user of the Iridium modem charges something like that. My guess is the $9.99 per month will cover live tracking at some nominal update rate, but may not include any text messages. We'll see!
    #19
  20. RevBill

    RevBill Irreverent Reverend

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    DeLorme Earthmate PN-60W Portable GPS Navigator with SPOT Satellite Communicator

    http://www.amazon.com/DeLorme-Earthmate-Navigator-Satellite-Communicator/dp/B0031QNPAC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315665131&sr=8-1

    .. anyone checked this out or have any input?? .. I just started a thread asking the same before I found this one ..

    WP .. looks like you're familiar with DeLorme already .. any input?? ..

    .. I'm already planning on getting a SPOT next year .. this rig may be the "Tax Refund Present" to myself ..
    #20