SPOT Connect: Hands Around the World

The new SPOT Connect enables a smartphone to work beyond the limited range of cellular service.

Stress decreases as the shoreline recedes in my wake. Leaving land is physically and spiritually freeing. Countering that sentiment is the need for safety and the wish to share our adventures with others. A great solution is the new SPOT Connect, a Bluetooth GPS device that enables a smartphone to work beyond the limited range of cellular service. At $169, plus $100 a year for the service, it won't break the bank. From the press release:

This GPS puck is equipped with a Bluetooth transceiver, enabling it to “sync with smartphone operating systems like Android” when you’re too deep in the brush to nab a cellular signal. From there, it’ll allow your smartphone to determine location via the Globalstar satellite network, and even transmit that information to personal contacts or an international emergency response center. Users can send location-based texts or e-mails via satellite, update social networks from remote locations, track progress on Google Maps and My Tracks and store up to 10 predefined messages for quick referencing and sending. Just imagine the Foursquare check-ins you could manage with this bad boy! The puck itself is waterproof to an IPX7 standard and weighs just 3.7 ounces, and we’re told that more mobile operating systems will be supported “later this year.” The Connect will go on sale this January for $170, though the services described above will run argonauts $100 per year.

I haven't tested SPOT Connect yet. Just released, demo units are scarce. But I can imagine checking in with work or home, via e-mail or social network, to let those that count on me know if I'm going to be late and how I'm doing, and to let them follow me visually on a map. The safety aspect needs little explanation.

SPOT Connect is available for use with the Android operating system. Just download the app after signing up and you're good to go. The maker expects that Apple, Blackberry and Windows phones will be on board shortly.

As we move to a world where onboard technology comes together — the coalescence of onboard networking, wireless capability and apps — SPOT Connect stands as a seminal device. It provides safety, fun and connectivity wherever you choose to cruise. Including those places where the nearest land is straight down.