Iridium Introduces New Communication Device
Iridium, the company known for providing communications for global businesses and the military anywhere on Earth has introduced the Iridium GO!—a new device that’s affordable when compared to other satellite phones and can provide voice calls, email access and relatively low bandwidth for such applications as social networking, SMS and photo sharing. For people traveling in dangerous areas, it provides GPS tracking and SOS alert capability.
The unit is the size of a fat smartphone (4.5 x 3.25 x 1.25-inches) and can fit in one’s pocket. It functions as a hotspot for Android and iOS devices.
Clicking the “where-to-buy” link brought up a page saying: “This product is currently in final development and testing and will be sold by Iridium partners upon commercial availability, expected in Q2 2014.”
Kevin Fitchard has an excellent overview of the Iridium offering as well as Globalstar's efforts in his Gigaom article Have satellite, will travel: Iridium, Globalstar target their Earth-spanning networks at consumers. He said that Iridium CEO Matt Desch told him the device would be priced around $800, but the cost of data was a bit unclear. Standard plans with metered use
Note that the Iridium network doesn't support 4G or even 3G speeds--Fitchard's article said the data rate is around 25 kbps after compression. Both Iridium and Globalstar are planning new networks. Globalstar's will support up to 250 kbps and Irdium's will hit the 1 Mbps mark.
The Iridium website has more information on the Iridium GO!.
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Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.