SPOT Connect is not the only GPS unit to provide off-the-grid messaging and barebones data but it is one of the first to pair the device with a smartphone app to enable SMS, Twitter and email in the wilderness.
For a satellite service it’s pretty cheap too, the unit is priced at US$170 (annual subscription minimum charge US$100 inclusive of SPOT’s tracking and emergency locator features).
The exciting thing about SPOT is that it’s driving down the cost of satellite devices and services at an alarming rate. By way of comparison DeLorme’s PN-60w, which offers a similar service from a dedicated device, priced out at US$450 upon launch in mid 2010.
Provision of low-cost connectivity in remote areas is a central obstacle in the humanitarian technology challenge. Where build-out of mobile networks becomes unfeasible it is often the case that satellite solutions don’t cost in either, if this declining price trend continues maybe one day soon they will. Here’s hoping.