Covington, La. - Globalstar subsidiary
launched a shirt-pocket-size device that turns an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad into an emergency communicator that transmits emergency text messages and GPS coordinates via satellite.
The $169-suggested SPOT Connect, intended for use with a free app downloaded from iTunes, is intended for outdoor adventurers or anyone else whose travels takes them out of cellular coverage range. It requires a SPOT satellite subscription starting at $99/year.
The 3 inch by 2.6 inch by 1.2 inch device connects to the Apple devices via Bluetooth. On the Apple devices, users compose custom messages or select canned messages. The messages are transmitted from the Apple devices via Bluetooth to SPOT Connect, which in turn sends the messages via Globalstar's satellite network to a user's contacts or to a worldwide emergency response center. Messages can be sent to contacts' email addresses or cellphone text-messaging in-boxes.
Along with messages, SPOT Connect sends the user's GPS coordinates, date, time stamp and a link to Google Maps.
Users can store up to 14 predefined messages and 10 personal contact groups consisting of up to 50 contacts each. Users can also send location-based messages to Facebook and Twitter.
The device runs on two AA batteries.
SPOT offers a variety of other GPS-equipped emergency communicators that tap into the Globalstar satellite network, but most of those models send only canned messages. A $449 product that allows for custom messages consists of a ruggedized DeLorme handheld GPS with keyboard and a Bluetooth-connected satellite transmitter.
SPOT Connect is available at retail locations in North America and from online sites specializing in GPS, outdoor recreation and personal electronics.
SPOT Connect is compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPod touch (2nd, 3rd and 4th generation), iPad and iPad 2.