My idea of camping includes walking through Union Square to get to the subway, but I know plenty of y’all enjoy roughing it. While sleeping under the stars, though, it’s best to put safety first by letting your friends and well-wishers know exactly where you are. That idea—keeping your friends and family abreast of your current location—is the inspiration behind SPOT, a BlackBerry-sized GPS device that sends txt messages of your location to your peeps. Since it’s GPS-based, you don’t have to worry about gnarly cellphone reception ruining your life. The device itself is $170 while a one-year subscription costs $100. An addition $50 per year gets you a 24-hour mapping service. When activated, it sends your location to a Google Map. A 911 feature alerts the relevant services if you’re in dire straits.
It’s an fine idea but the Wall Street Journal points out that it has some key limitations. For one, you can’t change the txt message it sends out from the device itself as messages must be created in advance. So if there’s a bear chasing you, you won’t be able to txt your fiends, “omg bear wants to eat me l8r.”
Phoning Home Without a Phone [Wall Street Journal]