AnyTrack? Not around here!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Aug 31, 2007

AnyTrack GPS100 cc

So the AnyTrack pitch is that the little GPS-100 above is “perfect” for locating stolen boats or vehicles, or tracking something or someone precious. The interesting technology involved is a built-in CDMA cellular modem and “Assisted GPS” which can supposedly enable online locating even inside buildings (and is so far only available on the Sprint system, according to an AnyTrack tech). The unit appears to be very solidly built, but I’m sorry to report that the overall service, not inexpensive, seems to be pretty much useless, at least on the coast of Maine.

For the starters, the AnyTrack does not properly indicate whether it’s working or not. When I first fired it up and hit the “set” button, it responded with an LED sequence indicating that "the device has captured a cellular signal" (from the user guide). But when I went to the tracking site (which is the only way you can access AnyTrack), it couldn’t find me. Well, it turns out that Sprint doesn’t cover Camden (or much else of Maine) and, according to AnyTrack “The light sequence of your device is indicating that it has captured a cellular signal most likely because it is roaming. If a device is roaming it is unable to be found by Locate Now, and it is programmed not to transmit its location by Automatic Tracking because of additional roaming charges that would be incurred.” Isn’t that akin to a cell phone that shows bars but doesn’t work?
   Plus you can’t turn on AnyTrack’s automatic tracking function unless it is in Sprint coverage. I found that out when I started it online and drove to Portland, figuring it would start tracking when it got a Sprint signal. Nope. It didn’t start until I called home and had my patient wife go the site and start it again. Then it worked, as shown below and bigger here, but wait until you see how the every-five-minute track compares to Sprint’s coverage map (an entry to come). Now I must note that this review would probably be a lot kinder if I happened to live in an area well covered by Sprint. But I don’t, and up here it seems like the only use for AnyTrack is to map where Sprint coverage is and isn’t. But it did please my wife. She spent years counseling victims of domestic violence and her first take on AnyTrack was that it would be useful to stalkers. Not around here.



You might want to check this out...

About half way thru the video they discuss the tracking.

Posted by: Dave at August 31, 2007 12:42 PM | Reply

Hey... I am for "competition"... but the cell phone "network" in the states is a disgrace.

Why the hell can't they have a single standard.. even world wide?

What a horror. These telcoms should be shot.

Posted by: DefJef at August 31, 2007 1:41 PM | Reply

Thanks for that video link, Dave. I know the characters and product but had not watched it. Paradox's Nav Tracker is not at all like AnyTrack. In fact it uses the same Satamatic Inmarsat D hardware that I tried last year:

Inmarsat D has a coverage map that's almost the entire globe, and it's real!

Posted by: Ben at August 31, 2007 2:09 PM | Reply

I think I may have found a way to pay for my retirement! I just have to stick one of these things on Lindsay Lohan's car, and then I can scoop all the paparazzi and photograph her whenever she leaves rehab!

Thank you panbo!! I can think of lots of ways to abuse this technology but not too many good ones.

Posted by: Aaron Lynch at August 31, 2007 2:20 PM | Reply

Hi Ben:

We’re disappointed that you were not able to get a good feel for our product. We think you would have been impressed by it, and in particular, its potential use for keeping track of trailered boats.

To ensure customer satisfaction we encourage prospective customers to check cellular coverage before purchasing. We also provide a service guarantee that entitles them to a full product and service refund if they are not completely satisfied.

Cellular coverage areas are continually being expanded. Perhaps at some point you would be willing to give us another try.

Best regards,
Anne Simons

Posted by: ahs at August 31, 2007 4:29 PM | Reply

So I guess this would work great as long as your trailered boat was stolen in a major metropolitan area or at a Starbucks.

Good thing for Ben that his "network" of Panbo readers has a greater reach than his cell coverage area or his boat "Gizmo" might not have been recovered.

Might be a good product if it could span all the cell networks. Sounds like too many products these days.

Posted by: jrb207 at September 6, 2007 8:34 AM | Reply

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