Wowza! I think I caught a glimpse of the future of GPSr’s today when I saw the Delorme PN-60w on the Internet. It’s released in the US at the end of the month and I can’t find any UK sites yet that are promising it (There aren’t that many Delormes around in the UK anyway).
The reason I think this sounds so amazing is it promises something that I don’t think any GPSr device features at the moment… The ability to upload your logs, connect to Facebook, twitter, send text messages, etc. When I heard about this initially I thought it was a bit too good to be true, and it kind of is…
It integrates with a device called a SPOT Satellite Messenger. This is a little gadget with a built in GPS chip and antenna that can transmit one-way messages over GPS. One of its main selling points is that it’s there for emergencies, if you fall down a hole or something, you could send a “Help” message, or the emergency services could find you, etc. I’ve looked these up and they retail for around £130-£150 (And then you have to pay for the service plan. That’s £100 per annum)
In the Delorme PN series there is the PN-40 which features 500mb of internal memory, dual core processor and looks like your standard GPSr. It retails at $300.
The next step up is the PN-60. This has 3.5GB (Holy Moley!) internal memory and a dual core processor. This retails at $400:
And then we have the big boy: The PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator. This has (Wait for it) 16GB of internal memory! And again a dual core processor. That little baby with the SPOT device will set you back $700 + $50-$100 for the SPOT service plan. Yowza!
A GPSr that you can use to log your finds, tweet, and update your facebook is pretty damn amazing (But do you really want everyone knowing exactly where you are all the time?) however it’s pretty damn expensive. The thing I like about using my iPhone for Geocaching is that at anytime I can upload my logs to the site, or check for caches not in a PQ. However, it is terribly inaccurate for finding caches and just eats the battery. So, my smart idea is Internet Tethering! I have this feature on my iPhone (But haven’t ever used it). You connect your laptop wirelessly to your iPhone and it will use the iPhone’s internet connection when wifi isn’t available (GPRS, Edge, or 3G). Well, how about if we have a GPSr that doesn’t need to talk to a SPOT device and doesn’t need that extra service plan? Instead you connect to your phone and use an internet tethering feature to upload your logs? It will only use GPS/Battery when you upload your logs or batch of logs. I think this idea has got legs! Maybe i’ll sell it to Garmin! 😉 If this device is popular I can’t imagine it’ll be long before Garmin and others jump on the band waggon with something like this. I think I’ve seen a glimpse of the future of GPSr’s 🙂
As a side note, all this “Dual Processor” malarky, I bet it’s just a marketing thing. When you see a computer with a dual processor it is genuinely faster. However, I reckon instead of putting a 400MHz processor (Or whatever it is) they put 2x200MHz processors so they could call it dual core and it’d sound more impressive. Yeah dual core does have benefits over single core, but I wonder how much with such a little device? How long until they release the PN-80 with a quad core processor (4x100MHz)? 😉