Two-Way Satellite GPS Communicator

Treading in uncharted technological territory between a satellite phone, a GPS unit, and a SPOT device, an upcoming product from DeLorme promises two-way communication via satellite-based signals. DeLorme is building a new device, called the inReach, which is a small standalone unit made for use with the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w GPS device or, most impressive, smartphones that run the Android operating system. You can type in a message in the wilderness via one of these devices, and then it will wirelessly pair with the inReach to send a satellite communiqué.

delorme - inReach.jpg

DeLorme inReach device

Key to the system, DeLorme has partnered with Iridium Communications Inc., which manages a constellation of 50+ Earth-orbit communication satellites. This will provide “pole-to-pole” coverage and network capacity for the inReach device, DeLorme cites.

What will the inReach do, exactly? Most substantially, the inReach will send and receive text messages outside of cell phone range. (The “receive” half of the equation is the big deal here, as most devices in this genre are one-way communication disseminators only.) You can send an email or a text message, and also upload to sites like Facebook and Twitter.

delorme - smartphone.jpg

Smartphone paired with DeLorme inReach

There’s a GPS tracking function and an SOS signal built in for emergencies. Another neat thing: If catastrophe strikes and you send an SOS, this system will let you receive message delivery confirmation. Emergency response services will be able to notify you that help is on the way, DeLorme cites.

As a bonus, the Android app is compatible with DeLorme’s map library, letting you download topographic, aerial, nautical, and other maps for display on a smartphone.

delorme - smartphone screen.jpg

Smartphone screen, DeLorme inReach interface

The inReach is slated for October delivery, and its expected retail price is about $250. There will be a requisite subscription fee starting at about $10 a month. More info is on DeLorme’s blog this week.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. A version of this post ran originally on Gear Junkie’s blog on VentureThere.com, a USA Today property.

Posted by Chip K - 06/16/2011 09:20 AM

Wow, what a great tool. Now they just need to make it a true “stand alone”, and not have to use a cellphone to operate the communications part. Also, is there full GPS capabilities in this thing? If so, where do I get one?

Posted by Andy M - 06/19/2011 02:34 AM

Hopefully they reach out to iOS users as well. It’d be stupid not to.

Posted by jpea - 06/20/2011 08:09 AM

From the looks at DeLorme’s blog, they’re considering doing an iOS version as well. From a developer’s standpoint, the Android OS has much less investment risk attached to it, especially if you are using hardware devices in your app workflow (like DeLorme is). Hardware add-on’s means you have a huge monetary investment in whatever OS you build for. Building for iOS would mean that you risk a rejection into their app store. Apple can and has rejected app’s for a variety of reasons, many if it simply includes a “duplicate feature” that he iOS already has (like text messaging, something DeLorme’s app does). It’s not a risk that most shops are willing to take first thing, so the Android market makes sense.

Posted by D - 07/29/2011 11:26 PM

can’t wait to use this on my Android

Posted by Joe Blow - 03/07/2012 04:59 PM

Jan

11

2012

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

5.0

Very pleased with device

By Jon-S

from Thousand Oaks, CA

See all my reviews
Site Member

Pros

Reliable Simple To Use

Cons

Best Uses

Backcountry Camping Day Trips River Trips Winter Conditions

Comments about DeLorme inReach 2-Way Satellite Communicator for Android:

I’ve had the inReach for almost two months and it’s worked flawlessly for my use. Check-in messages are received promptly and there have not been any missing trackpoints in my 3x-weekly hikes.

I also like the “notification” on the unit that the check-in messages have been received by the satellite.

This unit is like a breath of fresh air compared to my experience with the horrid SPOT 2.

NOTE: I am using the unit in ‘standalone’ mode and have no experience with pairing with an Android phone of the use of the DeLorme app. I will be getting an Android this summer when my 2-year contract on my existing cell phone is up.

One thing to be aware of is that there is a governmental “Universal Service Fund” fee added to the monthly bill in addition to the selected plan fee.

Service and delivery comments:

The device was pre-ordered online and it was delivered very promptly when it was released in mid-November 2011.

REI service is terrific, as usual.

Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Was this review helpful? Yes / No

– You may also flag this review

Nov

29

2011

(0 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

1.0

What a disappointment.

By cmdsuperstar

from Boston MA

About Me Avid Adventurer

See all my reviews
Site Member

Pros

Cons

Best Uses

Comments about DeLorme inReach 2-Way Satellite Communicator for Android:

Haa! I just got off the phone with Delorme customer service after ordering the InReach. I wondered if it would be possible to use an android phone with no cellular service. They told me that the GPS on the phone needed to be “active”, because when I would be viewing my current location, where I was, on the phone, I would be relying on THE PHONES GPS!!!

I wonder why this isn’t mentioned anywhere in their advertising?

Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Was this review helpful? Yes / No

– You may also flag this review
Posted by Roy Jamieson - 12/29/2012 09:46 PM

Yes, but if your phone is kaput, the inReach will still work in an emergency, it doesn’t need a companion device.
And let’s face it, the real situation you want that thing to be working in is if it’s life threatening.

Add Comment

  1. Add link by using "LinkText":http://google.com