Sunday, March 18, 2012

SPOT Connect lets your smartphone call for help without cell signal

spot-connect-gps-ces-2011

UPDATE: Read my hands on review of the SPOT Connect

I should have seen this one coming. The folks that brought you the SPOT Satellite Messenger and SPOT Communicator have announced the SPOT Connect – a satellite communicator that pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing you to send text messages, email or even post to Facebook and Twitter from the middle of nowhere. Pretty nice when you need to tell the spouse “twisted ankle, will be late” or summon search and rescue when you break your leg in the backcountry.

As far as I can tell, the SPOT Connect, paired with your phone, provides the same functionality that the SPOT Communicator does with the DeLorme PN-60w. That’s not to say it does what the DeLorme does – but it does appear to give you all the functionality that the SPOT Communicator brings to that pair.

The SPOT Connect is scheduled to begin shipping this January; it lists for $169.99 MSRP and requires an annual subscription service starting at $99.99 per year. From the sound of things, a SPOT Connect app will make Android the first smartphone platform to be compatible, with others “scheduled for release later this year.” I don’t know about you, but it looks like I’ll be buying one of these babies.

Note to SPOTPlease give the app an option to disable searching for a cell signal. On my Droid, I don’t see a way to do this  — airplane mode disables Bluetooth. Having your phone constantly searching for a cellular signal where there isn’t one is a sure way to kill the battery. 

Here’s the full news release.

Via Engadget

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

Comments

  1. There is a free android widget called “Dazzle”. It will let you turn off your cell radio, but still leave Bluetooth, Wifi, GPS etc running.

    https://market.android.com/details?id=org.hermit.dazzle

  2. Unfortunately those of us who already use a SPOT Communicator with a Delorme PN-60W will not be able to link with a smartphone–only a SPOT Connect will do it. I’m hoping a SPOT Connect will hook up to a PN-60W, but I don’t think it will (different Bluetooth freqs). I’d sure like to be able to use my iPhone with SPOT, but I don’t need two SPOT receivers!

    • And while some PN-60w owners may want this, it’s wise to remember that the technology continues to improve. By this time next year, I expect we’ll be seeing units with two-way messaging capabilities.

  3. Does this device work in Nepal? More specifically Kathmandu, Nepal? I am currently in the USMC and do security at designated US Embassys and Consulates and travel alot. For the next year months ill be in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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