On August 8, 2022 Motorola Solutions announced their latest next-generation mission critical portable two way radios, the APX N series of radios at the APCO conference in Anaheim, California.
These industry-leading devices are much more than a traditional two way radio. They’re intelligent, purpose-built subscribers that are intentionally designed with the familiar ergonomics, security, ruggedness, and audio quality that the public safety marketplace has come to expect from the Motorola Solutions APX product line. Everything down to the smaller form factor and increased flexibility in the antenna design has been reimagined through voice of the customer sessions and real world feedback from users in the field.
The announcement included the APX N70, APX N50, and APX N30 portable radios. These are all single band radios to complement the latest APX NEXT, APX NEXT XE, and APX NEXT XN product offerings that are capable of all-band operation in VHF, UHF, and 7/800 MHz operation.
We believe that you will find the APX N70 is the ultimate successor to the flagship APX 6000 single band portable radio, the APX N50 will be the new-and-improved version of the APX 4000, and the APX N30 will remain feature rich while coming in as the most economical model replacing the traditional APX 1000 and APX 900 product lines.
There isn’t any talk of a fire-specific model of the APX N70 yet (like N70 XE) as the APX NEXT XE has been a huge success in the fire market and the new APX NEXT XN, which was designed around NFPA standards and requirements, is expected to continue the industry-leading innovation that public safety has come to expect from Motorola Solutions.
Despite having large screens and enhanced controls, all models are IP68 rated and tested to the same military standards as their predecessors. They are designed to be comfortable to hold and for the controls to be second nature so that in a split second emergency situation, a first responder can intuitively grab the device and speak into either side, change the volume, or change the channel without having to think about using best practices. These radios come with buttons, menu items, and switches that are programmable. They even come with ViQi voice control so that you can check your battery level, change the volume, change the channel, etc. all with voice commands!
With the APCO Project 25 standard being AES 256 bit encryption, the APX N70 devices now include the AES algorithm right out of the box with the core software bundle. ADP comes standard in the bundle as well on APX N70 and N50 devices. DES, multiple key encryption operation (multikey), and over-the-air-rekeying (OTAR) are available as optional features within the security bundle offerings.
While the APX product line was a drastic improvement in audio quality over the previous XTS series product line, the APX N series continues to impress with audio clarity; Both on transmit and receive. Automatic gain control on the multiple HDR microphones allows users to speak into the radio from any direction and their audio will be scrubbed by the software algorithms that reduce background noise suppression in order to ensure that the audio transmitted is loud and clear enough to be heard. Automatic receive voice leveling allows users in the field to set their volume knob to their designed receive audio level and the receive audio from the device will match that level accordingly. Whether a user is yelling into their radio or whispering, the audio level received will match the volume setting of the receiving user’s knob. Many users today that have legacy products in use have to keep one hand near the volume knob at all times to adjust their receive level depending on the dispatcher or other unit that is talking. The APX NEXT and APX N70 come standard with adaptive noise suppression and automatic receive volume leveling. The APX N50 can be upgraded to enable this same functionality by adding the audio bundle.
High-Speed LTE Broadband Data Connectivity
Much like the APX NEXT series of devices, the APX N70 radio includes LTE broadband operation right out of the box. This option can be removed for a small cost savings, but many of the smart features are predicated on having reliable, high-speed data connectivity so we certainly recommend utilizing the LTE broadband functionality. APX N70 can operate on the AT&T FirstNet or Verizon Wireless cellular carriers. The APX N70 is the first mission critical Motorola Solutions portable radio to include “bring your own SIM” operation as well. Users can elect to bring their own SIM, if desired. In most cases, we are seeing clients select a preferred carrier and let Motorola Solutions manage the cellular access charges as it’s a cleaner experience and, in many cases, a cost savings overall.
Smart Features and Functionality
As the marketplace and technology continue to evolve, the time has come to do more with your two-way radio than just voice and packet data. With the APX NEXT product line we saw the introduction of the smart features listed below:
- ViQi Virtual Partner
The APX N70 includes the capability to support the same features over LTE broadband and Wi-Fi as the APX NEXT series radios. The APX N50 and APX N30 devices are limited to just the SmartConnect feature as they only support Wi-Fi data connectivity and not LTE broadband operation. We expect that you may see additional smart applications launched in the future, so stay tuned for updates!
The APX N70 is capable of being programmed within the cloud-hosted Radio Central, on-premise or cloud-hosted Radio Management, and traditional APX CPS environments. As of today, the APX N50 and APX N30 devices are capable of Radio Management and traditional APX CPS programming functionality. Radio Central operation for APX N50 and APX N30 is a roadmap item. All 3 models can be programmed and firmware updated with a new mini-GCAI programming cable or via Wi-Fi. The APX N70 can also be programmed and firmware updates can be pushed over LTE broadband utilizing the SmartProgramming smart feature. Fleet management, simplified!
All 3 models come with GPS location and Bluetooth capability inherent in the radios. The Bluetooth functionality can even be leveraged by the latest body worn cameras offered by Motorola Solutions so when a user presses the orange emergency button, their body worn camera starts recording automatically. From there, the body worn camera can be live streamed through CommandCentral Aware from the dispatch center to get true, eyes-on real-time intelligence. LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth operation ensure you stay ultra-connected!
Another new improvement that you will notice on the APX N series radios is the new mini-GCAI accessory connector replacing the traditional GCAI accessory connector that has been in use for over 10 years. The APX N series product line has moved to the mini-GCAI accessory connector in favor of improved performance and a smaller form factor. This migration is very familiar as recently the commercial product portfolio saw this same shift from the XPR 7000e series radios utilizing traditional GCAI are now being succeeded by the Motorola R7 series radios utilizing mini-GCAI accessory connectors. Fear not, however, there is an adapter that can be purchased to utilize traditional GCAI audio accessories with the new APX N series devices. Our recommendation is to go with the latest XVP 750 (channel knob) and XVP 730 (no channel knob) series of remote speaker microphones on the APX N70 as they include the latest suite of software and hardware enhancements to the public safety grade remote speaker microphone portfolio. The APX N50 and APX N30 have their own variations as well, the RM 760 and RM 780 models.
Battery technology is evolving at a rapid pace and the N series is no exception. These models continue to leverage Motorola IMPRES 2 technology, but come in a new form factor. The latest and greatest APX N70 single unit desktop and multi unit desktop chargers are backwards compatible with APX NEXT series radios by simply flipping a tab inside the charger to the left or the right depending on which model radio you want to charge. The APX N50 and N30 devices share the same charger, but it is a different model than the APX N70 charger (very much like the APX 900, APX 1000, and APX 4000 were different than the APX 6000 and APX 8000 chargers).
For our public safety partners, peak performance from their devices is paramount. Being efficient, yet budget-conscious, is always at the forefront of their mind. You can count on us to ensure you’re maximizing the value of your investment and operating at the highest level possible. Whether you need a high level training, a detailed review of your programming options, device preventative maintenance, or full service device management, we deliver the right level of support and managed services to meet your needs.
We are here to help you. Let us know how we can help – contact us today!