Outdoor Retailer is a beast of a trade show. There are literally thousands of people here. In fact, there are probably 1,000 exhibitors. Fortunately, except for book promotion, I’m confining my rounds to GPS and mapping software companies. It’s been interesting so far. The GPS companies are very tight-lipped, and not inclined to discuss anything that hasn’t been released (big trade secrets!). The software companies are much more forthcoming. I’ll go ahead and get some of the hardware stuff out of the way with this post, and give you the low-down on software when I have more time.
Garmin just announced the release of the Rino 520 and Rino 530. Both units have a color screen, USB interface, and a more powerful GMRS transmitter (5 watts) that boosts the listed range to 12 miles. Both also auto-route, and come with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and while the website doesn’t say so, the Garmin reps here told me there is a AA option. They also mentioned ergonomic improvements. The 530 adds an electronic compass, barometric altimeter and NOAA weather radio. Anticipated retail prices are $450 and $500.
Magellan has been busy as well, of course, releasing two new eXplorist models to coincide with Outdoor Retailer. Unfortunately they are not on their website yet, so I can’t point you to any more info than what you see here. The eXplorist 210, priced at $179, is an entry-level mapping receiver with 22 MB of memory. It uses a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, has a greyscale screen and a USB interface.
The eXplorist XL is a little more exciting. At 3.5", Magellan claims it to be "the largest screen available on a rugged handheld GPS." And it’s color! It also comes with 30 MB of internal memory that can be expanded with an SD card, and it too uses the USB interface.
Hmm, one intersting thing I see in the info they gave me. These products come with a one-year warranty in North America and two years in Europe!
Okay, that’s it for now. I hope to get a post on software up tomorrow. Stay tuned. As I said, the software folks were a little more forthcoming. And it looks like at least one is getting ready to delve into hardware!