If you duct taped tablet computer, a GPS, a handheld radio, a solar panel and a short wave radio receiver to a weather man you might have something pretty close to Earl the Back Country Tablet… but the Earl would be a lot easier to carry.
Earl is an Android based tablet that the designers claim is rugged enough to handle outdoor pursuits. It can be charged via an integrated solar panel and features an E-Ink display. The E-Ink display is genius for this application because it should be very readable in direct sunlight, able to display great detail in maps, and it helps extend the battery life.
Earl has the potential to replace several pieces of gear that you may already be carrying. It has a GPS chip set and a variety of sensors to get a fix on your location. The on board weather sensors (thermometer, hygrometer, barometer, and anemometer) can clue you in on changing weather conditions. The integrated 2-way radio can broadcast and receive on FRS, GRMS, and even MURS frequencies. You can also send secure information via the 2-way radio including text messages, route info, and weather. Earl also received AM, FM, NOAA weather radio, and Short Wave radio communications.
This is obviously geared toward hikers and campers but there are obvious applications here for the prepared citizen. I can barely imagine what it would be like to have this much information at your finger tips in the woods.
You can pre-order an Earl now.