Delorme, makers of the two-way satellite communicator, inReach have released a major update to the unit. Now called the inReach SE, the biggest change is the addition of a built-in colour screen and virtual keyboard making it even easier to send and receive messages to loved ones back home.
The biggest advantage to the new screen is that you no longer need to specifically pair the unit (via Bluetooth) to a smartphone to be able to receive texts as the old unit and now does it all by itself. That being said, you still have the ability to connect to your smartphone to manage all messages if you want.
The new inReach SE is now just under ½ the thickness as before so it will be easier to fit in your lifejacket pocket (I always felt the old version to be a little chunky).
As with the older inReach models you can use it to trigger an SOS and communicate back and forth with the search and rescue centre or set-up automatic tracking and share your current location with friends/family or social media.
The MSRP is $299 plus a minimum monthly subscription that starts at $14.95. The nice thing with Delorme's subscription plan is you can easily suspend or cancel the service during the off-season when you are realistically just going to get lost at the mall.
More info: inreachcanada.com
DeLorme has just announced what has the potential to be a real game changer for backcountry communication with their upcoming two-way satellite text communicator called inReach.
The inReach is a small unit that on its own acts similar to the SPOT Messenger. It can track your location, send out “I’m OK” messages as well as SOS signal if you are in trouble and need to call in air support.
InReach is nothing really new on it’s own but the real innovation under the hood becomes evident when it’s paired up (via Bluetooth) to your Android phone. When connected you are able to compose and receive custom text messages via the satellite network.
This really opens up a huge pile of possibilities. Everything from sending trip updates to social media websites to two-way communication with search and rescue crews as to the type of emergency you have and your current condition.
As seen in the supplied screen captures of the Android app, you can see a conversation between an injured hiker and SAR. What isn’t evident is if the response will come from the local SAR office or if this is a master emergency coordination centre that Delorme has set up to handle incoming SOS signals worldwide. My guess is the latter.
All outgoing messages will include valuable data including your location, speed, heading, and elevation.
Another very interesting feature is that inReach units will also be able to send and receive messages to each other. This has a couple of very interesting uses including hiking partners who might be exploring different parts of the trail or a guiding company owner who wants to check-in and see how her staff on trips are doing.
The inReach system is currently under going full testing and certification but the plans are that it is going to be rated IPX7 waterproofing and it will float. IPX7 designation means the unit can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
Pricing is still being worked out but look for it to be available in the fall for around $250. There will be three tracking and messaging plans starting with the Safety Plan for $9.95 per month. Additional Recreation and Pro plans increase in price and deliver larger volumes of tracking and messaging units.
The market of two-way satellite messaging is in its very early stages so watch for it to explode over the next couple years. What’s interesting with this announcement is that DeLorme has partnered with Iridium for its satellite backbone which is a breakaway from January’s announcement where they introduced their PN-60 GPS unit that could interact with the SPOT communicator network (which is owned by Iridium’s major satellite competitor, Globalstar).
Where will things go from here? Look for SPOT to refine their communicator and combine them into one unit. ACR electronics has also partnered with Iridium as well so watch what they put out over the next while. My guess is that ACR will continue go after the offshore sailing/commercial market and provide a similar product that is more robust and most likely SOLAS approved.
COVINGTON, LA -- The groundbreaking new DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator will receive a prestigious 2010 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award during a special ceremony Tuesday at the Hearst Publishing corporate headquarters in New York City.
Combining global positioning and satellite communications technologies, this unique product pairing comprises the first handheld GPS navigation system capable of keeping users connected with family, friends and, if necessary, emergency coordination services from remote locations around the world.
Popular Mechanics chose 10 products and innovators in science and technology that they believe moved society forward in 2010. In explaining their selection, Popular Mechanics editors described the PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator as “a valuable tool on any trip that extends well outside of cell phone range. It not only provides detailed topographical maps and GPS guidance in the backcountry, it also lets explorers send SOS messages with embedded coordinates via satellite if they're in trouble — or Facebook updates if they're not."
Despite the vast array of new products and equipment demonstrations, Spot LLC and DeLorme announced today that the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator received the Best in Show Award – an inaugural recognition presented by GearJunkie.com. The Best in Show award highlights a dozen innovative products seen at this summer’s recent Outdoor Retailer trade show held in early August.