Meet Earl... The Next Gen GPS?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by btao, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. NortwestRider

    NortwestRider TRIPOD ADVENTURER !!

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  2. Cataract2

    Cataract2 Where to?

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  3. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    Don't get me wrong. I hope it makes it to market. The path to market for both devices just seems very similar.
  4. Cataract2

    Cataract2 Where to?

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    Agreed, my issue comes with how many dates have been missed, there was a period of no communication, and it just seems to be stall stall stall. I certainly understand there are issues getting something to market, but they seem to promise the world and fail to deliver. At this point. I will be amazed if this device is ever seen.
  5. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

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    I too want the EARL on the market, if for no other reason than for a competitive entry. But, I also think this is a excellent example of the fact that Designing, Developing and Producing the right product at the right time isn't as simplistic as many think.
  6. btao

    btao Adventure is out there!

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    It is obvious they are progressing. Not to schedule, because they had no idea what it would take in the beginning. But they are doing it right and know it's make our break getting it right the first time. I think it's going to be a great product. They won't be able to make everyone perfectly happy on the first try, but if they hit their mark for the outdoor adventure, which is more people then adventure riders, there will be a future. I say give them a chance and show some support.

    sent from my portable multipurpose communicator
  7. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

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    Support, well, yes. If they read this thread (which I'm doubtful of), folks have been giving them requirements to make the device more applicable to this community. That is a sign of support. A new venture run by folks with no prior like-product development and/or Marketing experience has very low-odds of success; usually in the >1% of all products in category. Investing in such an endeavor is risky.

    Having said that, some of the more interesting technologies and devices have come to the market just that way.
  8. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    monthly bump, anyone heard from earl folks ?
  9. btao

    btao Adventure is out there!

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    Here's the last one:

    April 4th, 2014
    We are happy to be entering into the home stretch of hardware design. Even though this past month has been a bit more challenging as we pull the final components of Earl together, we are getting ever so close to the finish line. With each new difficulty we encounter, we feel the device has become even better with every solution. As we mentioned before, we switched from an IR touch screen to a capacitive touch system to ensure better weatherproofing and improved glove support. Well, we recently got some hands-on (or should I say, gloves-on) time with the TrueTouch capacitive touch system. This final version is customized especially for Earl and we were more than pleased with the functionality and responsiveness of the system. No more holding your glove in your teeth while you try to use your device before your fingers go numb! Another challenge we've faced has been sourcing a suitable speaker for Earl. We have some pretty strict requirements for our audio system and have gone through numerous manufacturers in search of the best option. WIth limited internal space, side port access and waterproof requirements, we need a small speaker that is not only high in sound quality but also one that is loud enough to be heard in the great outdoors. After sampling various local speaker companies in Shenzhen, we've actually found a great U.S. firm that is helping us design a voice box that will meet our requirements. We are currently finalizing our specifications with them.The last piece of the hardware puzzle is the connector for the custom antenna. This has proven to be a much more difficult feature than we had anticipated. Because our antenna is adjustable and we insist on having the ability to interchange customizable antenna, we have had to come up with some very creative solutions to accommodate this functionality. The locking mechanism for the SMA connector has to be extremely durable and fluid while remaining unobtrusive at the same time. This is much easier said than done, especially given the parameters of Earl's shell. Luckily, we have a solid team of engineers who have designed a custom connector to meet our specifications. We should have a final connector prototype to test by next week so that we can pop, lock and drop that antenna.Besides juggling hardware development, we have been working non-stop on the software end of Earl. We know that without an amazing user experience, the hardware will be irrelevant. We've poured a ton of time and energy into what we think will be the most robust and sleek user interface available for the outdoor user. We want all the relevant data to be accessible and concise without having any unnecessary clutter. Earl will of course be customizable to each individual's preferences and intended usage. But we want Earl to be simple and elegant right out of the box so that you can be on the trail right away.We know you are all eager for a timeline update. Unfortunately, our RF (walkie-talkie) team has required a little more time than we expected and we are awaiting the final module to be delivered to us to start the certification process. We are also in the final stages of negotiations with our tooling factory as we ramp up for mass manufacturing. Given the number of moving parts in this entire process, getting to this point has been a major feat in coordination and teamwork. You have all been more than patient and overwhelming supportive during this entire process and we can only ask you stick with us just a bit longer. We understand this is a lot to ask, but we think you'll be more than happy with the final result.Everyone here is working extremely hard so that we can deliver the best version of Earl to each of you and so Jon can get back home to play with the real Earl.

    ------------------

    Getting there.... Sounds like summertime, hopefully, as long as testing goes well.
  10. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    Nice update, thanks. I bailed and got refund last year during their long period of silence so this is clearly (and easily) better.

    Not to be intentionally negative, but sounds more like Christmas time than summertime to me. Hope I'm wrong.
  11. toecutta

    toecutta Been here awhile

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    ummm... design? i thought they were in manufacture and final test mode?

    such a promising concept...
  12. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    There hasn't been any talk of releasing a beta APP for backers to debug/test, or to at least show off features. That's pretty weird.

    I also wonder why they included micro SD support since third party devs aren't allowed sdcard access in KitKat.

    My calculator might just be broken though.
  13. btao

    btao Adventure is out there!

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    The SD card support for kitkat is limited, in that it can't save program data and have program access to the SD card. It's to prevent unwanted programs from accessing everything based on the FAT file system on the SD card. So, it will be limited. Now, it still should be usable for media and things like Maps that can be very large, that are put on there by a computer, or the OS, not a third party. I don't know the details, but for intents and purposes, should work ok, and at least gives you some expand-ability.

    Somewhere it was said that they were hoping to release that dev kit soon, which sooner the better...
  14. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    Sorry, brain fart....

    I just released they might be allowing folks to root the device (or come that way from the factory), then it's a non issue.

    The app status really surprises me though. Just about every developer I've ever used has had s bets process to find all the problems they had not yet realized or considered. If it's a really good ui, and less than $20, they could make a KILLING on just the app, then another fist of dollars on the dedicated gps-types.
    Hmm...
  15. btao

    btao Adventure is out there!

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    Not sure wash they are going to do for apps actually because many Android apps exist already for many functions. Like GPS. I plan to use OSMAnd+, like on my smart phone for any complicated routing using open street maps. You could use anything you wasn't really.

    They want it as accessible as possible so I wouldn't be surprised if it was rootatable at the push of a button.

    sent from my portable multipurpose communicator
  16. moto_dmitriy

    moto_dmitriy que?

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    I will make a longer post on this in the future but just FYI for now that, yes while many Android apps will run on it, they will look like CRAP. E-Ink tries to approximate color with grayscale and in turn the contrast (the main reason we ALL want an e-ink GPS nav etc...) turn to SHIT. I'll try and shoot a quick video to show the difference of optimized VS non maps for example.
  17. btao

    btao Adventure is out there!

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    Therein lies the details. Many gps devices do it fine, but that's what they were designed for. Hopefully it works well...

    sent from my portable multipurpose communicator
  18. Beer_me

    Beer_me JY

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    From meetearl.com update page:

    May 7, 2014

    Meet Earl at The Summit! We have just received some incredible news! Out of over 1,500 applicants, Team Earl has been selected to the second round of 100 semi-finalists to compete for a spot at this year's The Summit Kilimanjaro. With your help, we could be one of the 3 startups that will be chosen to participate in this once in a lifetime trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and help out charity: water in the process. It goes without saying that this type of exposure would be HUGE for Earl. If we are selected, we'll have the chance to share Earl's vision with leading tech entrepreneurs, visionaries and investors. We will also be invited to share our story on the Main Stage at The Summit in November. We can't stress how important this opportunity could be for Earl. Please take a moment to check out our entry and vote for us by liking our video! http://thesummit.co/kilimanjaro/nominees-alpha#entry-408 If you really want to help us out, please spread the word and share this link with your friends and family. We appreciate all of your continued support and can't wait to take Earl all the way to the top!

    The video has shots of a vastly revised device from what is pictured on the main homepage. Looks like they might actually pull this off. Glad I didn't sign up for one though ... got a big trip planned and decided to go with a 7" android tablet despite the drawbacks.
  19. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    Though I guess you could call this part of the marketing phase of their product launch, their time would probably be better spend on getting the thing finished and filling their pre-orders.
  20. btao

    btao Adventure is out there!

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    Big update yesterday!

    http://www.meetearl.com/updates/

    Some great pictures of the final product and vid clips on the site.

    The last month has been a whirlwind for us but we are stoked to share the latest on all fronts. I'm sure you will all be happy to hear that we have our manufacturing sample ready for inspection! The shell, capacitive touch screen, solar panel, and PCB are all ready to go. Holding a (nearly) finished Earl is something special. There’s still a few more tweaks to go, including placement of some internal antennas and shielding of the environmental sensors. It's so great to finally see all of the handwork that’s been going on in China come together. Feeling the final weight in our hands while seeing the screen light up is a little surreal, to say the least. Here are a couple videos for your viewing pleasure: Our team in Shenzhen has done a tremendous job of pulling together a completely custom device. They have come up with creative solutions for every issue we've encountered along the way. But we aren't completely out of the woodwork yet. The firm that has been developing Earl’s walkie-talkie has had a few issues while debugging the final version of our VHF/UHF transceiver module. Until we have the final version in hand, we can’t begin the certification process. As soon as they resolve these issues, the module will be sent out for testing and certification separately as well as together with the full system. We’re expecting the module by the end of the week. The good news is that this delay will give our hardware team more time to update to the latest version of Android. During development we’ve been using Android 4.03 as our base system. Since most of the electronics have been completed, sans walkie talkie, we’re now updating and optimizing Earl for Android 4.4. This is great news for our software development in general. We recently met in person with our application development team in Delhi, India to go over all the details of Earl's application layer. We spent the majority of the week going over every specific of our software suite and assessing their progress. They’re working hard to integrate localized applications for offline use with our distribution and data backup servers online. We’re also building a custom app store so users will have access to a special catalog of applications, add-ons and books/guides that are Earl ready! Having the amount of features and sensors that we have poses a unique challenge in creating an interface that is both clean and simple in terms of providing essential data, but also gives users the ability to customize their device to accommodate their needs. Earl's software suite is going to be huge and has potential applications for all kinds of activities. We will have an update showcasing a lot of these functions and demonstrations of the interface in the upcoming week. We know a lot of you have been waiting patiently for updates to our website. We apologize for the delay, we’ve been a little preoccupied with finalizing hardware and software development. There’s been a few options for integrating backers accounts to a new system, we settled on Shopify to help us manage current and future orders and fulfillment better. Version 1.5 should be up shortly along with a fully integrated help desk that is much more user friendly than our current system. Version 2.0 will integrate Earl's application suite with our website. Users will have ability to manage their accounts, integrate with social networks, and a personalized space to analyze their routes and data. Finally, most of you have been kind enough to vote for us in the Summit Kilimanjaro competition. We are really honored and excited to be chosen as one of the finalists. The potential exposure could be tremendous for Earl. If you haven't already, please take a moment to check out our entry and click the Like button so that your vote will count. http://thesummit.co/kilimanjaro/nominees-alpha#entry-408 Please share with friends and family, too!!! We can't do any of this without your support and we can't thank you all enough for your continued patience.