Smartphone with Satellite Link

Spot LLC and DeLorme made waves last year with the release of the co-branded DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator. The product, which included a DeLorme GPS linked wirelessly to a small SPOT device, enabled text messaging and even Twitter updates via the DeLorme interface and SPOT’s satellite network. A new product announced today, the SPOT Connect, opens up this type of capability to the masses. The claim with SPOT Connect, which is also a two-piece product, is that it will “turn smartphones into personal one-way satellite communicators.”

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Smartphone and SPOT Connect

As a subsidiary of Globalstar Inc., which owns a network of communication satellites, Spot LLC’s new product provides a way to connect to the Internet outside of regular cellphone coverage areas. With SPOT Connect the company says you can enable a smartphone to send text messages with GPS position, update social networks, or even alert the authorities in the case of an emergency. All this can be done from remote areas around the planet within range of Globalstar’s satellite network.

To launch Connect’s capabilities, smartphone users download the new SPOT Connect app. With the SPOT Connect device, the phone can then wirelessly synch up via Bluetooth. Says Peter Dalton, president of Spot LLC, “For the first time ever, urban professionals, outdoor enthusiasts and world travelers can utilize cost-efficient, personal satellite communications directly from their smartphone.”

Additional features include the ability to send location-based messages via satellite delivered as SMS text or email; update social networks including Facebook and Twitter from remote locations; provide GPS functionality to non-GPS devices; send messages linked to a locator on Google Maps; and transmit an SOS message in an emergency.

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SPOT Connect device

The SPOT Connect uses a Bluetooth wireless connection. The unit is waterproof and measures about 3 × 2.6 × 1.2 inches. It weighs about 5 ounces with batteries.

SPOT Connect will cost $169.99 plus a required annual subscription service starting at $99.99 per year. It is scheduled to begin shipping this month to retail locations and online sites specializing in GPS, outdoor recreation and personal electronics.

—Stephen Regenold

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