Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GRE @ CES 2010 - Part 1 of 3

Below is a summary of my discussion with Wayne Wilson and Raj Gounder of GRE America from CES 2010. GRE announced their new PSR-700 EZ Scan-SD (iScan equivalent model) as well as a new GRE branded PSR-110 Race Scanner at the show. I'll cover some more details regarding the specifics for these two new models, then get into some general discussion items as well as cover additional questions folks wanted to know.

PSR-700 EZ Scan-SD

As for differences compared to the Radio Shack iScan branded model, this unit will not only be black in color, but also has a hard rubberized casing in place of a traditional solid plastic casing. The keypad has been redesigned and optimized for one handed operation (which was not a consideration with the original Radio Shack iScan version). The largest functional difference is the inclusion of V-Scanners which will allow one to save up to 200 different scanner configurations (scan list combinations and settings) for easy recall. Also are the various GRE versus Radio Shack specific branding elements as Don had mentioned ("Spectrum Sweeper" versus "Signal Stalker").

The reason why GRE has released analog-only models first (RS PRO-107 and GRE PSR-700) is due to the fact that the analog trunking market currently outsells digital trunking on an order of 5 to 2. As Don had mentioned, a majority of activity and frequencies are still analog in the global scanner market, and hence a majority of people are still just looking for analog models. See the General Discussion section for some additional comments on my part in regards to the analog/digital trend. GRE did indicate that a digital version is "a year away", is in development, and is the highest priority for delivery. These initial analog iScan/EZ-Scan models will be a good proving ground for this latest form factor.

The photo of the PSR-700 that I captured was not of a working unit, but a production prototype of how the scanner and casing will be produced. They did have a GRECOM branded piece of iScan looking hardware that was running the new PSR-700 EZ Scan firmware. It is interesting to see that everything for these scanners runs off the SD card, including all of the scanner firmware/software as well as holding all of the programming information. This should provide for a good future with the ability to essentially update most functionality via firmware/software upgrades. It will be great to see this SD card functionality on other future GRE models--especially the higher tier and full function type models like the PSR-500/600 form factors.

While this line of models using the new iScan/EZ-Scan form factor is focused heavily on being preprogrammed and easy to use, this new form factor, and these new models are also just the latest step. It will be great to see some of the technologies introduced with these specific models eventually move across the entire scanner line.

GRE indicated to look to June 2010 for first availability of the PSR-700 model and that the unit will have a price point similar to that of the Radio Shack PRO-107.

[Part 1 of 3]