Updated 8:00am: Garmin product page for chirp is available.

That was quick.  After last night’s flurry around the Garmin chirp, Garmin has posted an announcement for the new wireless geocaching beacon on their blog this morning.  A few items to note:

  • Price of the chirp is noted as $22.99
  • Size: 1.3″ x 0.9″ x 0.3″ (3.3 x 2.3 x 0.7 cm)
  • Weight: <1.0 oz
  • Range: 32 feet (10 meters)
  • Waterproof: IPX7 – 1 meter for 30 minutes
  • No mention of Colorado support
  • Security features which only let the owner program the device – this is very important so that these $20 items aren’t useful if stolen and can’t be tampered with in the field
  • Battery life of 1 year with continuous use and it the battery is a replaceable CR2032 lithium coin cell
  • Warning will appear on GPS if battery is getting low (nice!)
  • Transmits coordinates, hints, count of visitors and date of last visit

Garmin has posted these placement tips:

  • Do not mount the chirp inside a metal container.
  • Do not bury the chirp.
  • Do not put the chirp in water.
  • A compatible Garmin device should detect the chirp within 10 m. For maximum transmission range, allow the chirp to have an unobstructed view in all directions.

Neat stuff, I’m hoping to get one today and get a cache out based on chirp soon.  Watch here for my first reports later in the day assuming Garmin releases the software to support the chirp.

Garmin’s full release:

Starting today, geocachers have a new trick up their sleeves – and in their caches – as we’re introducing chirp, a unique wireless beacon designed specifically for the outdoor adventures of geocaching. Affordable, durable and waterproof, chirp can communicate with, and be programmed by, any compatible wireless-enabled Garmin handheld for a more interactive and enjoyable geocaching experience. Cache creators and seekers alike will enjoy the benefits as chirp stores hints, transmits multicache coordinates, counts visitors and confirms the cache is nearby.“With chirp, geocachers have a new tool to enhance the joys of creating and finding caches around the globe,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “In listening to and participating in the vibrant geocaching community, Garmin created a one-of-a-kind device that builds on popular innovations such as paperless geocaching and downloading cache details directly to the device.”

Geocaching is a high-tech version of hide-and-seek where participants of all ages explore the outdoors in search of hidden treasure and adventure, and chirp’s wireless interactivity introduces a world of possibilities for creative caches. Experienced cachers will embrace the countless options now available in creating cutting-edge caches, and beginners will appreciate chirp’s features that make those caches easier to find. Simple to use and password-protected, chirp can be programmed by any compatible wireless-enabled Garmin handheld to store geocaching hints and other information. When other geocachers arrive near your cache, they’ll be alerted that the cache is nearby, and then they’ll be able to access the hints you’ve loaded into chirp. And when you return, chirp will tell you how many visitors have been to your cache.With chirp, setting up and maintaining a multicache has never been easier. Using your compatible Garmin handheld device (such as Oregon, Dakota and the recently announced GPSMAP handhelds), chirp automatically transmits program coordinates so other cachers can find each stage of your multicache. Or if you’re on a multicache, chirp lets you download coordinates. So there’s no need to manually enter numerous sets of complex coordinates – there’s just one simple touch and you’re on your way to the next stage.

Designed and tested by geocachers, chirp is built to take the rigors of the outdoors. And because chirp is password protected, the owner is the only one with programming powers. With a battery life of up to a year and a battery that’s easy to replace, chirp is long-lasting and user-friendly. Measuring 1.3” by 0.9” (slightly bigger than a quarter) and weighing less than an ounce, chirp is small enough to incorporate easily into your favorite caches – whether they’re already placed or still being planned.

The helpful hints provided by chirp are brought to life through paperless geocaching, which allows geocachers to help the environment and be more efficient by having cache information downloaded and displayed directly on the device. Compatible Garmin models store and display details such as location, terrain, difficulty, hints and description, so that you don’t have to carry around printouts. Learn about geocaching, getting started and going paperless at www.garmin.com/geocaching.

Available now for a suggested retail price of $22.99, chirp represents the latest breakthrough from Garmin, which has spent more than 20 years developing technologies and innovations to enhance users’ lives, making Garmin a household name in the automotive, aviation, marine, wireless, outdoor and fitness industries. For more about features and product compatibility, as well as information about Garmin’s other products and services, go to www.garmin.com, www.garmin.blogs.com and http://twitter.com/garmin.