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Sunday, March 18, 2012

New DeLorme all-in-one GPS + satellite communicator?

DeLorme GPS  satellite communicator mockup

My mockup of a DeLorme GPS + satellite communicator

DeLorme recently posted a request for beta “testers for an upcoming product,” in their community forum, which got me wondering what they were up to. The post is gone now, but still available in Google’s cache (see image below):

DeLorme beta tester request

DeLorme beta tester request

DeLorme hasn’t released a new GPS in 2-1/2 years, so it’s high time they rolled out a new one assuming they aren’t going to abandon the market. Their last release was the inReach Satellite Communicator, which pairs with smartphones or the PN-60w to allow for two-way backcountry communication.

But who wants to carry around two devices? The holy grail is a combo unit that does everything you want in a handheld GPS and acts as a satellite communicator to boot. This is total speculation, but I suspect this is where they are heading.

The questions I have are:

  • How big will it be? The inReach was huge!
  • Will it be a one-way or two-way communicator?

Regardless, we may know soon, as beta testing was due to start early this month, which could put us on track for a summer release. What do you think? Any other suggestions for what they might be testing?

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. Hopefully they’ll implement a larger screen. Last summer I alternated between a Garmin GPSMap 62s and a Delorme PN-60. I like both devices but the screen size on the Delorme is very small compared to the Garmin GPSMap and the Etrex series and ultimately what cause me to shelve the unit. They also need to move away from the old lanyard system onto something new like the rail system that both Garmin and Magellan have adopted for mounts and belt clips. Delorme has great devices but need to further develop them. I think could easily produce a great GPS for the geocaching market but seem totally disinterested in doing so. I guess time will tell!

  2. Oh good, more pot stirring rumors.

    My guess – something I already referred to jokingly on DeLorme’s forum as a PN-80BT – would be the existing PN form factor, but with Bluetooth stack for communicating with the the “smartphone” version of the inReach – this would let Big D dump Zigbee and only have to support one inReach model going forward.

    I made that up though, just wishful thinking. I am not in this beta test cycle and have no inside knowledge.

  3. Richard Howard says:

    The existence of such a beast would possibly prod me into buying my first Delorme GPS device. Really surprised that Garmin has not jumped into the game on something similar to the In-reach or your suggested all in one device.

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