Sunday, March 18, 2012

Separate DeLorme inReach models for Android and PN-60w owners

DeLorme InReach two modelsHoly fragmentation Batman! DeLorme issued a news release yesterday about its upcoming inReach product and, buried in the last paragraph, was this bombshell:

There are separate models for Android and DeLorme users.

Now that isn’t a big deal for users (unless you happen to be a DeLorme toting Android owner), but it’s bound to be a headache for DeLorme. Apparently this is due to the PN-60w using a wireless protocol other than Bluetooth, but really, couldn’t they have included two wireless technologies in one unit?

I’m betting they’re regretting their decision to go with whatever protocol they’re using in the PN-60w, which was supposed to give us wireless networking capabilities (i.e., the ability to see the location of other PN-60w users). If I’m not mistaken though, that feature was never rolled out. Can a PN-60w owner verify? Bueller?

UPDATE: I received this in an email from DeLorme this afternoon:

Had we decided to include both wireless protocols in one inReach model, there may have been interference issues because they both operate in the same frequency range. The unit cost would also have been higher. As successful as we’ve been with the PN-60w, we’re looking ahead to being able to communicate with a much larger community of devices in the future, via Bluetooth. So, for us, it made more sense to move ahead with the Bluetooth protocol, while continuing to serve our significant base of existing PN-60w customers.

The important thing is, we’re not shutting anyone out of the inReach market. If you have both an Android phone and a PN-60w, you can pick the model you want. If you only have one or the other, there’s a model specifically for you. And, we never want to overlook the fact that you don’t need to have either an Android or a PN-60w to communicate with the inReach. By itself, it enables the sending of pre-loaded messages, with delivery confirmations; remote tracking, and of course, users can send an SOS, get a delivery confirmation in return, and respond to that confirmation to alert rescuers that they know help is on the way (It’s always worth mentioning, the SOS key is protected by a “safety” to prevent unintended sends). Triggering the SOS also activates remote tracking so that responders can zero even if the sender stays on the move. These are all enormously important features and are in no way affected by a communications protocol.

There will be separate model #s for each device. The Bluetooth model will display “inReach” in blue letters; the DeLorme GPS model uses green letters. Packaging isn’t yet finalized but it will clearly distinguish between the two models.

More info:

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. Here, sir.

    The PN-60w uses the ZigBee protocol, which is supposed to have some advantages for low power consumption (and lord knows they were trying to scrape as much run time out of a set of batteries as they could). There is a hardware capability of communicating with other PN-60w users over small distances–my recollection was up to a quarter mile in ideal conditions–but the FCC was just not into it, and DeLorme had to drop the idea (or, I would presume, make a LightSquared size contribution to the appropriate pol).

  2. Hopefully Garmin learns from this.

    My hope is that Garmin will offer a sat-communicator that will work with any of its recent wireless communicating devices with a simple firmware update.

    Is there any hope for this? Or should I just buy a base 62 series and be prepared to upgrade when Garmin gets sat-comm on the market?

    • I’d be shocked if they introduced this and didn’t tie it to a new series at first. I’m also not sure if ANT is well suited to this use. It certainly wouldn’t allow for pairing with Bluetooth phones.

      • That’d be rad if you could connect to a communicator via the USB port but I doubt that’ll happen.

        My worry is that I go out and pay extra for the 62S and later down the road I can’t use it with a communicator anyway. I don’t really need the compass or other extras of the $350 62S.

        • I expect Garmin will get into this game, but I don’t think we’ll see a unit in people’s hands until at least spring 2012, and maybe a year later. But that’s just conjecture on my part.

  3. iPhone? iPhone?

    This is similar to the recent SPOT Connect … which is ok but not stellar. See my review:

    http://sammydee.net/blog/gear/spot-me-on-sizer

    and

    http://sammydee.net/blog/gear/can-you-spot-me

    …Sam

    • DeLorme has expressed an interest/intent of adding iPhone support a little futher down the road. Apparently they find Android a little easier to start off with. They are aware there’s a lot of iPhone user interest.

  4. Does anybody know when the inReach is being released? Thanks

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