Garmin updates Rino outdoor GPS & two-way radios

Many people only interact with GPS systems in their vehicles or on their smartphones, but there are still healthy niche markets for special purpose GPS systems; to that end, Garmin has announced updates to its Rino line of outdoor GPS and FRS two-way radios designed for use out doors, off beaten tracks, and well away from the nearest cell phone towers. The new Rinos feature 2.6-inch touchscreen displays that can be used with gloves, and a 20-mile radio range that enables users to keep in touch with each other even when no phone service is available. The Rinos are designed with hikers, campers, skiers, hunters, photographers, and first responders in mind, but can be handy for anyone (or any group) that gets away from the unwired world.

Garmin Rinos (June 2011)

“Whether you’re a hunter looking for peace of mind in the woods, a ski patroller monitoring conditions in the Rockies or simply want to enjoy the outdoors with the benefit of radio communication and GPS, the new Rino has what you need,” said Garmin VP of worldwide sales Dan Bartel, in a statement. “Having the ability to know where someone is in your hunting group at all times and to communicate freely with them provides a new level of safety only found from Rino.”

The updated Rino 610, 650, and 655t all have a location-reporting feature that can send a unit’s exact location to other Rino users in the area and display it on their map page, and once devices are paired users can see each other’s locations even in situation where one user can’t call for help or explain where they are. The Rinos also support unit-to-unit text messaging (not cell network required), and the devices can communicate with other FRS (Family Radio Service) or GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) in the area. The new Rino’s GPs feature high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix technology that calculates and caches satellite information for faster fixes.

The Rino 610 serves as an entry-level model, running on 4 AA batteries for up to 18 hours, and featuring a 1-watt FRS/GMRS radio, 1.7 GB of onboard storage, and support for Custom Maps, TOPO U.S. 24K maps and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (with subscription). The Rino 650 and 655T include a NOAA weather radio, feature removable/rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (and can be run off an optional AA battery back), and can share waypoints, routes, geocaches, and other information with compatible Garmin GPS devices. The Rino 655t also sports a 5 megapixel camera with (of course) geotagging capability.

Garmin says the new Rinos will be available in the third quarter of 2011, with the Rino 610 going for $349, the Rino 650 stepping up to $499.99, and the Rino 655t going for $599.99.