DeLorme PN-60w & SPOT Messenger
A few days ago we posted a tidbit of information we had received about an upcoming product between DeLorme and SPOT. Details were sketchy at the time, but now things have become much more clear. The new GPS from DeLorme will be called the PN-60w. Externally, the PN-60w looks identical to the PN-40 except the ubiquitous orange color has been replaced with jet black. Under the hood you will still find a 32 channel chipset, 3-axis electronic compass, barometric altimeter, and a dual core processor. One other tidbit we found interesting was “elevation profiles”, something that the DeLorme Topo USA software has, but the PN-series devices have not yet seen. Battery life is said to be improved as well.
Something else you will immediately notice from the screenshots…. I was hoping for a single device solution… just somehow cram the necessary guts of the SPOT into a GPS. It seems there is duplication of a CPU, GPS chipset, and a bunch of plastic that is redundant in a two device system. But alas, I guess we are not yet there for a single device solution. So how does this technology combine?
The PN-60w and the special SPOT messenger communicate with each other wirelessly. The SPOT doesn’t have any input interface, but the PN-60w has an on screen keyboard. So you can use the PN-60w to tap out a custom message, then send that message to the SPOT, and the SPOT will send the message up to the satellites and then on to your contact list. Slick. The SPOT messenger can send three predetermined type of messages… “I’m okay”, “help”, and “911″. That works well for many people, but for those who want to further customize the message, the combination of the PN-60w and the SPOT can do that.
There will be a few hardware changes… better battery life, an increase in memory to 3.5GB and an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the screen brightness.
When I plan routes in their Topo USA software I frequently pull up the elevation profile and use waypoints to mark certain points in the route… I guess I won’t have to do that anymore as you can view profiles directly on the device.
I know a certain former Vice President who might have a use for this feature… Want to know where your hunting buddies are? Provided they are in about a half mile range and in decent line of sight, you can view their locations on the map.
Although a one half mile range is pretty darn short and I think people will find this feature of limited usefulness at such short distances. The Garmin Rino says it can go “up to 14 miles” with good line of sight between.
Pricing for the DeLorme PN-60w/SPOT is shown as $550 at Amazon, andt we should start to see it in store shelves this Spring. Update… The PN-60 without wireless will be $399. The PN-60w will be $449. The PN-60w with SPOT Communicator bundle is $549.