Sep 18, 2006 at 7:55 pm #1219630
Would like to discuss whether any of us in the BPL world has heard of any company developing some kind of all encompassing electronic device combining a phone, camera, GPS, MP3 player, am/fm/wb radio.
Some phones have GPS, some with MP3 music playback. Of course there are camera phones if you are satisfied with a paltery 1.3 megapixels.
Some MP3 players have a FM band but not AM and certainly not a weather band.
And GPS devices think they are giving something extra with pixelly games that just eat battery life.
So my question is whether there is company developing an all-purpose electronic device for the backcountry; something about the size and weight of a good quality digital camera?
I think not only it could serve the small niche of backpacker/hikers but also skiers and even the man-in-the city driven to high tech devices.Sep 18, 2006 at 9:12 pm #1363223
@david_bonnLocale: North Cascades
Some of the small handheld computers have came close to what you imagine.
Personally, I wouldn’t want one. You end up making some pretty harsh compromises to get all of those things in one little box — like your comment about camera phones, which matches my generally feeling about “MP3 phones” too.
Unfortunately, we hikers really aren’t that big a market when it comes to mass-produced electronic devices.Sep 19, 2006 at 3:56 am #1363238
David LewisBPL Member
@davidlewisLocale: Nova Scotia, Canada
I would keep an eye on Apple Computer. They have been working on a phone for some time now and rumors are it will be released in early 2007. The original plans apparently had a phone, mp3, camera and gps all in one… but they ran into some serious technological hurdles trying to cram so much into one device. The current plan (according to sources) is for a phone/mp3/camera… 3 megapixels… 2.2″ screen… and no 100 song limit like other iTunes phones. I can’t imagine it having a radio… but perhaps a future version will have GPS… once it’s technologically feesible and cost effective.Sep 19, 2006 at 4:04 am #1363239
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Would like to discuss whether any of us in the BPL world has heard of any company developing some kind of all encompassing electronic device combining a phone, camera, GPS, MP3 player, am/fm/wb radio.
Yes, but we took the company out the back and beat the stuffings out of them for attempting to inflict such an insane electronic overload on us.
Camera – yes. The rest – phooey.Sep 19, 2006 at 5:02 am #1363242
@ianwrightLocale: Photo - Mt Everest - 1980
Sounds tempting but . . .
if something goes wrong such as a flat battery or it’s dropped in water, you lose the lot.
A small camera, a small GPS and a small MP3 player is fine for me. But a phone ? Yuck, that’s what I want to get away from.Sep 19, 2006 at 7:12 am #1363245
Doug JohnsonBPL Member
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
Oh YEAH! I’d buy that in a second. As long as you can leave the phone off when you’re using the GPS or whatever.
But to have the option of GPS, phone, etc. in one small package AND to be able to climb a peak and make a call in case my solo trip goes awry…that would be a killer product. Sure- I hate phones in the wilderness too but when you have a baby at home, you start to change your thinking. Having communication in something I already carry and with only ONE kind of battery to replace…find it- I’ll buy it.
But no, it doesn’t really exist yet.Sep 19, 2006 at 7:42 am #1363250
@mn-backpackerLocale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Nifty idea, but when I head out the only thing that requires batteries is my headlamp, my watch, and the camera if I bring it. No phone, no mp3, no GPS, no FRS, no radio… no thanks. :)
That said, I don’t through hike (no time) and all my trips are 1 week or less. For me, being disconnected for the short amount of time I am out is great. If it were longer, I can certainly see where somebody would want to be more connected, and an all in one device like you suggest would probably be quite nice for them.Sep 19, 2006 at 10:34 am #1363259
Ben 2 WorldBPL Member
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
I’m with Roger on this one.Sep 19, 2006 at 11:23 am #1363266
As long as we’re at it why not add a few things? A heart rate monitor would be nice. Why not also a bike computer so you can use it when cycling? A book reader would be great too. Oh yeah, and it must be smaller than the palm of my hand.
This is only partially tongue-in-cheek, as I happen to agree that it just makes sense to merge many technologies. It’s bulky and annoying having to carry a phone AND a PDA, for instance (when smartphones get cheap enough I’ll get one). Being an electrical engineer myself, I can estimate that this is a difficult task. As others have mentioned, it usually means compromise on some of the capabilities. But I’m sure the industry will be able to make something available eventually. Just hope that Moore’s Law keeps holding true.Sep 19, 2006 at 11:50 am #1363269
Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
Technology convergence seems to be happening mostly in the cellphone realm. Because a cellphone is dead weight most of the places I hike (no reception), this isn’t the gizmo I want hosting my camera or gps.
I believe we’ll see GPS creeping into digital cameras, first simply to document *where* each shot was taken, along with all the other data that’s already collected, but then they’ll notice, “Hey, what could we do with this big display screen and the GPS chip?” The camera could easily become the GPS.
GPSs are already paired with 2-way radios (which gets a hearty “so what?” in my book) and some now have sound recording for verbal waypoint descriptions. Add a camera function too? Probably, but likely in the cellphone-quality realm, which would be fine for snap-shooters.
Mass convergence might well be PDA-based, but size, weight and complexity will tend to make such do-all devices not very attractive for lightweight hikers. GPS on a big PDA screen is pretty nice, though.
I guess my vote is for the digicam-GPS. I don’t see any reason to toss in MP3, especially now that the iPod Shuffle is the size of a Chiclet.Sep 19, 2006 at 12:01 pm #1363271
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
That sounds good to me, However, I never have cell phone service where I hike. If I did, I would take my phone on my solo trips in case of emergencies.Sep 19, 2006 at 12:09 pm #1363272
Often the problem with convergence devices is that they do everything but nothing well. That is one of the reasons the ipod is so popular (as compared to the other MP3 players with lots of features) — it does one thing really well.
A convergence device would be great but not at the expense of ease of use or quality. IMHO.
BobSep 19, 2006 at 12:31 pm #1363275
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Finding a company with that many talents would be a challenge too. Sony could cover radio/mp3/imaging anf I just found an interesting blurb on a new GPS they make that will time synch with your digital camera and record the coordinates for the photo.
“SAN DIEGO, Aug. 1, 2006 – Sony Electronics today announced a GPS device that puts your pictures on the map.
Using time and location recordings from Sony’s GPS-CS1 GPS device and the time stamp from a Sony digital still camera or camcorder, photo buffs can plot their digital images to a map and pinpoint exactly where they’ve been.
The 12-channel GPS unit is 3-½ inches long, weighs two ounces, and is sold with a carabineer to easily attach to a backpack or a belt loop.
“Whether you’re traveling to the Seven Wonders of the World, or just wondering where to buy your next house, our new GPS device can track your journey,” said David Johns, product manager for digital camera accessories at Sony Electronics. “Adding a geographic context to your digital images helps organize and make use of your photos in entirely new ways.”
To arrange your pictures geographically, import the logged data from the GPS device, using the supplied USB cable, and then download the digital images to a computer. The supplied GPS Image Tracker software synchronizes the images on your digital camera with the latitude, longitude and time readings from the GPS-CS1 device.
Once synchronized, your photos can become virtual push pins on an online map by activating the Picture Motion Browser software bundled with the latest Sony cameras and camcorders released after July. You can easily add new photos and coordinates to the mapping web site, courtesy of Google Maps, and showcase years of globe-trotting.
The GPS-CS1 GPS device will be available next month for about $150 at sonystyle.com, at Sony Style® retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail), and at authorized dealers nationwide.
Sony GPS-CS1 specifications
GPS device type 12 channel
Object image JPEG file (EXIF 2.1 or later)
Power • One AA battery (Alkaline or NiMH)
• Recording time around 10 hours (Alkaline) or 14 hours (NiMH)
Communication USB 2.0 Full-speed (same speed as USB 1.1)
Dimensions 36 x 87 x 36 mm (1.4 x 3.4 x 1.4 in)
Weight (no battery) 55 g (1.9 oz)
Software • GPS Image Tracker (Windows only)
• Super Mapple Digital Ver.7 for Sony (Windows only) “Sep 19, 2006 at 12:50 pm #1363278
David LewisBPL Member
@davidlewisLocale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Gee… guy asks a simple question and it turns into a bit of a rant :) I, personally, would never hike with an MP3 player or a phone either… or a GPS for that matter… heck… I don’t even own a cell phone… or an MP3 player… never have… and probably won’t any time soon… and I’m an IT professional!!!… i.e… a professional geek! But I just answered his question. It can be annoying for a poster… any of us… when you ask a question and get a debate instead of any attempt at actual answers.Sep 19, 2006 at 10:21 pm #1363321
Yes it was just a simple question about any company attempting to converge electronic communication technologies that we now have to pack seperately whether we want or need just one, two or more or maybe all.
And I agree with Rick it will probably come from a cell phone companies since it’s the one comm device we all use nearly every day.
I’m quite aware most backpackers are looking to get away from the every day electronic world. But to comment on the rant, technology of any kind is merely how we manipulate the material world to do things. Humans are not created with built-in gear like animals so we can go backpacking butt-naked. And you can use or not use whatever you want; fine with me. The Amish stop with technologies developed prior to the industrical age; I’m sure their packs would be quite heavy if a BPLer wanted to do a thru-hike on the AT.Sep 20, 2006 at 5:06 am #1363332
@sabmeLocale: SW UK
No one’s actually suggesting any real hardware.
1. Fujitsu-Siemens Loox T830
£420 WLAN BTv2 2MP 416MHz 2.4in240x240 190g SirfStarIII.GPS 3G+GSM qwerty WinMob5.Phone USB1host SDIO VoIP 126x64x21mm 195g
2. Mitac Mio A701 Pocket PC Phone + GPS
bit lighter faster CPU 1.3MP camera no WLAN
3. Hewlett Packard HW6915
similar to Loox T830 but not as well spec’d
Might be some others as well but can’t remember off the cuff.
My fav would be the T830Sep 20, 2006 at 4:53 pm #1363369
I carry a GPS and a satellite phone on my solo trips, so I’d love to see those combined. They use different satellites though, so I don’t think that would work.Sep 20, 2006 at 6:19 pm #1363371
@david_bonnLocale: North Cascades
I find this rather funny…
You post, on the internet, asking a question. And you are, um, bemused that you don’t get a straight and simple answer? Nearly all people posting here are doing so on their own time. Nobody is obligated to give you a satisfying answer or any answer at all. And topic drift is as old as the internet, and quite possibly older.
The internet is this magic thing that let’s you ask questions and get answers back. Like ancient oracles, the answers aren’t necessarily satisfying, or even useful. Life goes on.
I’d suggest looking at product offerings from PDA manufacturers making smartphones. I’ve heard of GPS add-ins for such gadgets. One of those would be fairly close to what you are asking for.Sep 21, 2006 at 7:28 am #1363398
I have Sony Ericsson k750i cellphone (102 gr)
This cellphone is a 2mp cameraphone with mp3 player and fm radio function. Last week i’ve find a java applet GPSJ. It becomes possible to use a bluetooth gps with my phone. I’ve tried a G-space bluetooth gps (80gr), it works perfect with my cell and GPSJ applet.Sep 21, 2006 at 8:38 pm #1363444
I’ve heard that some AMISH drive cars.
courtesy of the ThriftstoreMountaineerSep 23, 2006 at 11:16 pm #1363540
I carry a device that comes close. It includes a cell phone (with email and internet capability, although I’ve never used them), an excellent ebook reader (I load several books for a month-long excursion—-read “Crime and Punishment” while hiking the Oregon PCT), an MP3 player, and is the map and software end for my tiny Bluetooth GPS receiver (which is just a bit bigger than a flashdrive, has no screen, and goes in my pocket). It also has a camera, although my model
s resolution is poor (latest model is much better). It’s a Palm Treo 650 PDA/SmartPhone.
It also can read and create MS Office documents so I can work on my teacher planning while hiking. Most of the time, I cannot get cell reception while backpacking, so I also carry a Globalstar satellite phone…my elderly mother is home alone and I must call her at least once a day. The Treo’s batteries last days if not using the cell phone. Yes, these are a lot of gadgets. BUT the phone takes the place of a journal (it has a little built-in keyboard), a full-sized GPS receiver, and reading material (I don’t use the MP3 player while hiking). It can also record short videos with sound. Oddly, I live 2 miles past the end of the power lines, and we make our 12 volt power, so lots of the electrical gadgets in most homes I don’t have–not even a TV (no reception in my Mt. home). But this little mini computer-phone works well at home, at school, and on the trail. Yes, if I dropped in in the creek it would not work, so I carry it in a baggy or two, and in a padded spot in my fanny pack. And I also carry a compass and map!Jun 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm #1743712
A fascinating thread from 2006.
My how things change – while attitudes often stay the same. Kinda neat, this old thread.
Ah, the wonder of the interwebs.Jun 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm #1743770
Kyle MeyerBPL Member
@kylemeyerLocale: Portland, OR
Ah yes, that crazy time before the iPhone…Jun 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm #1743839
@thefatboyLocale: St. Louis
>> heck… I don't even own a cell phone… or an MP3 player… never have… and probably won't any time soon…
I'm curious if this is still true. I know a guy without a mobile phone. A guy. One.
I remember a time when I could leave my house and make it all the way to work without missing a phone. If I needed to call someone, it could wait another 8 minutes. If the car broke down, I could walk all the way to that next exit. Now I feel naked without my iTether. I've been struggling with whether to abandon or embrace my iBall&Chain on the trail. If the battery lasted more than a day, I don't think it would be a decision at all. Something tells me there's a solar charger in my future.
Now if only it would microwave popcorn, too…Jun 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm #1743854
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"Now if only it would microwave popcorn, too…"
There's an app for that.
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