Last year, I wrote about the SPOT locator beacon’s new ability to send text messages with a DeLorme GPS receiver. Now, the company plans to release a new product by the end of January that will bring SPOT technology to your smartphone.

SPOT Connect uses a similar small SPOT locator chip, but this one connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. When it’s all synced up, you’ll be able to send short text messages via the SPOT satellite network, post to Twitter and Facebook, and use the usual SPOT features like check-in messages and tracking.

The device will cost $170 and require a $99 annual subscription, which if you ask me is pretty dang steep for what this does. I’m a big fan of SPOT, and use their personal locator beacon when I’m on solo hikes, but I just don’t think smartphones have the battery power to make this useful. When I use a GPS app on my iPhone, I can usually only get a few hours of use in before I run out of juice. Bluetooth is a notoriously battery-draining feature, too, so I’m sure that use time will take an even greater hit with this.

What do you think? Something you’d use, or just another device to encourage abuse of Yuppie 911?

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