Somewear satellite hotspot

jnev

New member
#1
Hi all,

I wanted to see if any of you guys are familiar with the Somewear satellite hotspot? A couple good buddies of mine have been designing and building the product for quite a while now, and I'm pretty stoked to see the final units. Their kickstarter went live a couple days ago. Somewear Kickstarter

I have no relation to the company, aside from being a friend of the founders, so please let me know if I'm breaking any forum rules. Just wanted to pass along another cool option out there to compete with the already popular SPOT and Inreach. More competition can never be a bad thing in my opinion.

What are your guys' thoughts?


Cheers, and hope the weekend has some adventure in store.

Josh
 
#2
Interesting concept, although I am not sure how this is really any better than inReach (which is well proven and has the resources of a major hardware/software company behind it), or the Hawkeye, or the RockStar or any number of other Iridium SBD devices? Maybe it is a little lighter and maybe cheaper per message, but you really need a phone to use most of its features, removing the weight advantage, and the ruggedness of the device. This sort of device also needs a well designed and maintained back end, making startups a kind of risky proposition.

Maybe I am just not seeing it - care to point out where this device shines?
 
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jnev

New member
#3
Hey Rando,

I personally have only used the SPOT and Inreach, and just now briefly looked up the Hawkeye and Rockstar options since I wasn't familiar with them. The Hawkeye and Rockstar both look to serve a similar purpose, although I think they're coming at it with a different angle.

Where I think Somewear excels is in its size (and weight), transportability, and social aspect. Use it in a car on an expedition, and then throw in in your pack and head out on a hike, climb, fishing, etc. SPOT only has 1 way messaging, so I think Inreach would be the only viable competitor, and the Somewear device, for the time being at least, has less expensive messaging and less expensive device itself. And maybe I'm a bit biased, but I think the way you use the Inreach on your phone is a bit archaic compared to what I have seen in the pictures of the Somewear app.

I just found this little write-up gear junkie just did as well: Tiny Device Turns Your Phone Into A Satellite Messenger

Either way, just wanted to throw out another option out there for those who hadn't heard about this one yet.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#4
I don't see either the SPOT nor InReach as the same or direct competition. The reliance on pairing with a phone is the difference and IMHO the main drawback. I have a SPOT, in full disclosure, BTW. The reason I got it and stick with it is because it does *not* need a phone at all and uses AAA batteries. But my use case is position tracking first, followed by periodic check in and SOS. So this device would be like a SPOT but with an even more limited functionality to me.

I don't need regular two-way communication but if that is something I did want the InReach would again be my preference because it does not need a phone to access core features either. But, again, my use does not anticipate easily charging (bikepacking) at this point. I do sometimes bring a USB battery pack that will charge my phone a few times but currently don't carry solar regularly. So the reliance on a phone is to me a major limitation since I prefer not to use them (and I've gone back to a flip phone anyway, so apps are out).
 
#5
The point I was getting at before (and Dave makes) is that in order to use the two way messaging and almost all the other features of this you NEED to have a phone. The size and weight is kind of a red herring if you need a phone to access these features - when you add the size/weight of an iphone, this is heavier and larger than an inReach and the battery life becomes limited by the phone. If you just want to use it as an SOS beacon, you may have a point - but are you really going to trust someones kickstarter as a safety critical device? It is also more expensive (MSRP or kick starter) than the inReach with similar functionality.

I hate to sound so negative, but I have become pretty jaded about kickstarters that promise the next greatest thing without really doing much analysis on the current market. There is a lot of hype and little analysis or delivery.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
#6
The point about support is key. How does the financial stability of the device provider factor into GEOS membership? Somebody has to pay for that and if a company goes out of business does the GEOS activation remain valid? Is it a one-time activation that follows the ESN of the device forever? Even so, is the provider responsible for keeping the data up to date? I know I keep my information updated with SPOT, so I assume they are responsible for that. When you're selling something for SOS I'd want to know the details.
 

jnev

New member
#7
I totally see where you guys are coming from as far as the need for a phone. There is still the SOS button on the device if sh*t really hits the fan and your phone is dead/missing/etc. I think smart phones are so commonplace now (for better or for worse) that it's extremely rare nowadays for anyone to go anywhere without their phone - wilderness and outdoors included. In addition to that, I always have a small charger with me anytime I'm away from an outlet for more than a day that can charge up my phone at least a couple times. With that in mind, I personally like being able to do everything off of my phone.

As for the support, since they got this far, I can only assume that they have some decent funding behind them, but don't know specifics in that regard except that the 2 founders are friends of mine who are awesome guys that are beyond passionate about this device and the field it fits in.

For people looking for a satellite hotspot device, it's great that people can have more options though that cover the whole spectrum from one way communication all the way to 2 way communication using an app on your phone. More options and competition are never a bad thing.
 
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