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Garmin GLO Bluetooth GLONASS receiver
Boyd
Pretty cool - $100 Bluetooth GLONASS receiver with 10hz update rate. Thanks to Rich at gpstracklog.com for noticing this!

http://garmin.blogs.com/pr/2012/07/garmin-glo-portable-gps-and-glonass-receiver-brings-hig...-mobile-devices.html

Garmin® GLO™ Portable GPS and GLONASS Receiver Brings High-Integrity GPS Capability to Mobile Devices

OLATHE, Kan. — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced GLO™, a portable GPS and GLONASS receiver that brings Garmin’s industry-leading GPS technology to mobile devices.

“As the first wireless GPS receiver with the ability to receive signals from both the United States’ GPS satellite network and Russia’s GLONASS satellite network, GLO provides the most comprehensive satellite coverage available,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “Whether you’re driving through an urban canyon or flying an airplane at any altitude, GLO ensures that your mobile device maintains a strong, reliable GPS signal.”

When using both GPS and GLONASS satellites, the time it takes for the receiver to “lock on” to a position is (on average) approximately 20 percent faster than using GPS alone. Furthermore, when using both GPS and GLONASS, the receiver has access to 24 more satellites than using GPS alone. This is particularly helpful for users who need reliable satellite navigation in challenging environments such as deep canyons or urban environments where a large portion of the sky is blocked by solid objects.

GLO wirelessly connects to Apple® and Android™ devices via Bluetooth. It offers a 12 hour battery life and a position update rate of up to 10 times per second (update rate may be limited by the host device). This is 10 times faster than the internal GPS receivers of most mobile devices.

For pilots, an exclusive GLO for Aviation package is available, which comes with a mount, power cable and a free six-month trial of Garmin Pilot, Garmin’s aviation navigation app for Apple and Android mobile devices, available in the App Store℠ and Google Play.

“GLO will be especially popular with pilots. Mobile applications such as Garmin Pilot™ have further advanced the use of iPads® and other smart devices as navigation tools in the cockpit. But because the internal GPS receivers in these devices are not optimized for use in flight, the GPS signal can be less accurate and slow to provide updates,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “GLO solves that problem by leveraging two independent satellite networks and Garmin’s industry-leading GPS technology to provide the most accurate and most frequent position updates available for a mobile device in the cockpit.”

GLO is expected to be available in August at a suggested retail price of $99. GLO for Aviation is available immediately at a suggested retail price of $129. For more information, visit www.garmin.com.
Marvin Hlavac
Thanks, Boyd. Either the marketing person made a (serious) omission, or the new unit is limited to being compatible with only Apple and Android.
Boyd
Interesting. I thought they were just positioning it for use with their iOS/Android apps, but now I'm wondering if it only works with them? Guess we will have to wait and see....
Marvin Hlavac
My first thought would be that it "should" work with Windows PC. But one cannot be certain, especially since the press release has been worded the way it has.
bfperez
Neat!

I imagine it has to output a compatible NMEA sentence and allow 'standard' BT access so that smartphone apps can use it. There shouldn't be any reason a PC can't connect to it. Even if it doesn't have an option for BT serial, an app like GPSGate should be able to share out its signal.
Boyd
The draft copy of the user manual is now available on the FCC website. It is pretty short on details, but does say

The GLO sensor is also compatible with many Android, Windows or Blackberry smartphones, tablets and notebook computers
https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTim...cc_id='IPH-01156'
Marvin Hlavac
I was interested to find out if the unit outputs NMEA, and if it is possible to change the 10Hz refresh rate (for example to 1Hz), but the manual doesn't mention these details.
Ducati
This could be an excellent receiver in conjunction with a tablet. That new Google Nexus 7 @$199 sounds even better now.
popej
Nexus has GPS build in, as most smartphones do. And some phones have Glonass support, too, for example Galaxy Note. In my opinion Bluetooth receivers won't have much use today.
Boyd
GPSCity has some videos, reviews and FAQ's on their site now for the GLO: http://www.gpscity.com/garmin-glo.html

1. Martin
Quebec
Sep 24, 2012

Is the GLO can connect and navigate with a laptop? If yes, which software should I use?


2. Jesse
GPS City
Sep 24, 2012

Yes the GLO will send NMEA data via a Bluetooth VSP with a laptop
tcassidy
Certainly looks like the Garmin BT10x except for colour, its update rate and probable inability to switch to Garmin format. I wonder what GPS chipset it uses.

Terry
Boyd
Received my GLO ($90 from MacMall) this afternoon right on schedule and am just now playing around as it charges on my desk. I have never seen a 10x in person, so I was (pleasantly) surprised by how small this unit is.







It acquired a signal within a matter of seconds inside the house the first time I turned it on. On the HP Slate 500, I went to the control panel, and turned on Bluetooth. Windows 7 found the GLO right away and proclaimed it was a Bluetooth Headset. So it shows up in the control panel as a headphones icon - but whatever, it is identified as a Garmin GLO and Windows said it was installing drivers. Clicking on the details, it seemed to install drivers on about 4 different COM ports. Not sure what that means... but it works.

Started up Mobile PC which re-scanned and found the GLO right away. The GPS info screen shows a signal from 12 satellites: 14, 16, 20, 23, 30, 31, 32, 48, 66, 69, 73 and 74. Are some of these GLONASS? Occasionally it will drop down to 11 satellites here inside the house.

More to follow as I put it through its paces. Right now I'm just happy that it seems compatible with Mobile PC.
tcassidy
Sounds great! It sounds a lot more sensitive than the 10x (SirfStar III) then. So, did GMPC identify it via a COM port or directly from Bluetooth?

Terry
Boyd
Terry, GMPC identifies it as COM6: BthModem0. I was wondering why Windows showed 4 different com ports, and if maybe more than one program could access it simultaneously. So I fired up OziExplorer along with GMPC. Ozi scanned all the com ports and didn't find a GPS. When I quit from GMPC, Ozi found the GLO on COM6 at 4800 baud. But when I started moving map mode it gave me a communications error. I didn't dig any deeper because I don't actually plan to use Ozi on the Slate.

For fun, I also tried nRoute (after quitting Ozi and GMPC). It scanned all the com ports and didn't find the GLO - which is, of course, no big surprise.

So I went out for a short drive down a little sand road in the Pine Barrens for a first test. First, my gut feeling is that GMPC is actually using the higher refresh rate of the GLO. In track up mode, the screen appears much more "active". If I swerved left and right just a bit, the map rotated to match - something I've never seen with my Navation USB stick. Screen updates definitely felt faster with the GLO.

Also, the touchscreen on the Slate was more responsive than usual. I think the Slate just doesn't like to have any wires connected to it, even the USB GPS. They seem to pickup some kind of RFI that affects the (lousy) touchscreen.

During this test I placed my Garmin Montana 600 on the dash right next to the GLO. Here are the satellite screens on both devices. I never really understood how to read these things, or if they can be directly compared across devices. But this implies to me that the Montana was getting stronger signals.




I set the Montana to record a track point every second. There is no equivalent setting in GMPC, so I used the "Most Often" option for recording interval. As you can see from the tracks below, GMPC is not recording points at fixed intervals like the Montana. It would be interesting to see how the 10hz tracklog compares, but I would need to find some other software for that.

I saved the track on both the Montana and GMPC, but I couldn't open the GMPC track in Mapsource; I got an error message when I tried, saying Mapsource couldn't read the Current.gpx file. Even though I had saved the track and named it "gmpc", it was not actually saved as a separate file on the Slate.

However I was able to open the Current.gpx file in GlobalMapper (a powerful GIS application), and it displayed all my waypoints, routes, the current track and my saved track inside the file. So here are some comparisons from GlobalMapper, using NJDEP orthoimagery. The red track is the Montana, the blue track is the GLO/GMPC.

Really, they are pretty much the same. If you zoom way in, there are a few variations. Just offhand, I would say the GLO more accurately follows my path.




And here I have zoomed way in on a section where the two tracks vary. Again, the Montana is red and GMPC is blue.





Here's an extreme closeup of the tracks, minus the orthoimagery. That road is quite straight, so I would say that the GLO (blue track) is more accurate.




So I'm really happy with the GLO so far. It "just works" without the need to do any special configuration. I still have not received the mat for the GLO that I ordered from Garmin. DHL says it's somewhere in St. Louis. The $10 two day Fedex from MacMall was certainly a better deal than the $8 DHL shipping from Garmin - although I will give Garmin props for actually shipping it the same day.
Boyd
Here's a good one... how do you register your GLO? When you go the normal path and follow the links to register, it wants you to connect the device to USB, but of course the GLO has no USB interface (only uses USB to charge) so Communicator won't detect it.

After messing around a bit, I found that if you lie and say you have a marine device, it takes you to a form where you can manually enter the serial number. That worked fine and added the GLO to my list of registered products.

I had forgotten... when you register a device you get a code for a 10% discount on maps and accessories... could have used that to save $1.50 on the mat. Big deal... will be better to save the code and use it to buy something more expensive, like maybe a new birdseye subscription for my Montana.

Now here's something interesting. How would you like to get a 10% discount on as many items as you like? Just bookmark the URL from where you completed your registration. Then click the next button. It will take you to the "thank you" page again, but with a new 10% discount code. You could also just use the back button in your browser.

I think this will work with any Garmin product. I'll bet you don't even need to buy a new GPS. Go to your myGarmin account and de-register one of your products, then re-register and see what happens.
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