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DeLorme announces Earthmate PN-60w, a satellite messaging GPS unit

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So you’re trapped in the high mountains of Tibet with only your wits and a slice of beef jerky between you and certain death. What do you do? Why not text your friends “WIZARD NEED FUD BADLY LOL!” on the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w.

This device is a portable GPS unit with a built-in keyboard. It supports SPOT satellite messaging technology – apparently unrelated to Microsoft’s MSN Direct technology – that can be used to call for help in an emergency. However, using the technology you can send messages from almost anywhere in the world.

The unit is currently in pre-release and will include topographic and street coverage of the U.S. and Canada, thereby limiting its usefulness in Tibet considerably.

The Earthmate PN-60w is the world’s first handheld GPS that enables Type & Send text messaging via satellite. A special interface on the PN-60w connects it wirelessly with the SPOT Satellite Communicator, which was designed exclusively for DeLorme. Messages are created on the PN-60w’s internal keyboard, then relayed via satellite for delivery using established SPOT technology.

Because messages are conveyed via satellite, and are not dependent on cellular phone coverage, the PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator keeps users reliably connected even in remote locations around the world. Both devices are designed to be ruggedized and waterproof and thus better suited than most cell phones for the rigors of outdoor use.

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