We recently covered the SatSleeve, an iPhone case that turns the device into a powerful satellite phone capable of making calls from any location. Now the Earl is a tablet specifically engineered for rigorous outdoor use and featuring a built-in solar panel.
Running on Android 4.1 with an E-Ink screen, the rugged tablet is stripped back, but features precise GPS and orientation sensors to give users detailed information about their location, direction and elevation. The tablet also has internal weather sensors that offer accurate data about the climate and FRS, GMRS and MURS transceivers that provide resilient two-way multimedia communication with Walkie-Talkies and other Earl devices. The tablet comes with 16 gigabytes of hard-drive space, as well as a USB socket, and is equipped with useful survival guides in PDF format. Users can get over 20 hours of life out of the tablet battery, which can be charged with the built-in solar panel. The touchscreen can be used even with gloves on and the device is water, dust and shock-proof, withstanding submersion in three feet of water for 30 minutes.
The team behind Earl created their own crowdfunding platform to fund the development of the device, reaching 195 percent of their target. Although the campaign is over, customers can still pre-order the tablet for USD 299 in either the Coal or Snow design. Although designed for explorers and mountain climbers, it’s easy to see how a device like Earl could be used in emergency scenarios or in remote environments.