Vexilar leaked word about the coolest new release I've heard about yet.
The Vexilar Sonarphone makes your smartphone or tablet into a high-definition sonar unit using a dedicated WiFi signal that goes from a little transducer box, which is the only thing you have to buy, to a free phone app. No corresponding graph needed. The phone becomes the graph, and the part you buy in it's simplest form is only $129.95. I haven't seen the real thing yet (next week!), but it sounds like they've though through practicalities of mounting, having your phone out in the weather, etc., and word is that the imagery and capabilities are really good. It even comes with a neoprene wristband for your phone to provide an option for keeping it handy. Some mounting/protection options are extra, but even the deluxe package is less than $200.
The Sonarphone especially intrigues me because of the way I fish. I travel all over and I mostly fish out of the backs of other people's boats, from docks, from canoes and johnboat boats, from atop the ice... Assuming the transducer unit is pretty portable and easy to place in various settings, it seems like the ideal thing to use on the ponds near home and then tote virtually anywhere I travel. I always borrow other people's units for ice-fishing because I live in Georgia and fly to everywhere I fish through the ice, which makes the idea of toting my own traditional sonar unit more than a little impractical.
I do have a few nuts-and-bolts questions, like how it impacts the already-short battery life of a typical smartphone if you use the graph much in a place where you don't have the capacity to re-charge. The Vexilar folks have most likely thought about the same things, though, and probably will have answers to most of my questions. I'll probably do another blog about the Sonarphone after I've seen the real thing, but this innovation definitely caught my attention this morning and I wanted to pass along word.