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Compact inexpensive send/receive satellite communicator turning heads

by Charlie Conley/Sail-World Cruising on 17 Aug 2011
Send and receive text messages from anywhere in the world - ideal for individual crew members .. .
An inexpensive satellite communicator that isn't even on the market yet is earning awards and turning heads in the USA and will soon be available online. The Iridium-based inReach, a small unit that will send and receive text messages has just won major awards from both Outside Magazine and GearJunkie.com. Aimed at the trekking market, it could be very applicable for any sailor going out of reach of mobile phone coverage. Receiving is the big breakthrough.

inReach is compact, lightweight, waterproof, floatable, and impact-resistant, and it can maintain satellite signal lock even in difficult GPS environments. It will be available from October on in the USA, but will be available anywhere in the world by purchase online.

The inReach offers users a number of unique advantages compared to other satellite communicators. Because it relies on the market-leading Iridium satellite network, inReach can deliver two-way text messaging with full-pole-to-pole global coverage and message delivery confirmation. It also provides remote tracking.

When paired with either an Android smartphone or a DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w handheld GPS, the inReach lets users send and receive 160-character messages to and from family and friends. Messages can also be posted to Facebook and Twitter. In case of emergency, inReach users can send messages describing their situation so that responders can come prepared.

The inReach can also be used as a solo device to send pre-loaded text messages or SOS alerts with delivery confirmation. Solo users can also enable remote tracking.

Remote tracking is automatically triggered by any SOS message. The inReach is designed to prevent SOS false alarms, in compliance with the RTCM SC-128 standard for SENDs. It also supports one handed, gloved operation.

In addition to Outside, a number of influential websites and blogs have written about the inReach. The REI blog said, 'Of the thousands of items being paraded down the new-product catwalk at the summer Outdoor Retailer trade show here in Salt Lake City, none may elicit a bigger wow this year than the DeLorme inReach satellite communicator.'

And the Phandroid site had this to say: 'DeLorme's inReach Satellite Communicator Could Be Savior of Stranded Adventurers.'

Individual inReach models are available for Android and PN-60w users. Android users will be able to download and display DeLorme Topo North America maps on their phones, at no charge. Topo North America is also included for PN-60w users.

'The core communications component of the inReach is the Iridium 9602 short-burst data (SBD) transceiver, which is a low-latency two-way data connection through the world’s furthest-reaching communication network,' said Patrick Shay, Iridium vice president and general manager for data services. 'We believe the DeLorme inReach has the potential to be a ‘game changer’ in the growing market for personal satellite tracking, messaging and SOS alerting devices.'

Both inReach models will be widely available at retail in the U.S. and Canada and from online resellers beginning in October 2011, with a recommended retail price of $249.95, with annual subscription plans starting at $9.95 per month. For more information, visit www.delorme.com/inreach.

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