Yesterday, Iridium officially launched their new portable satellite hotspot the Iridium GO!. Acting like a personal cell tower, the compact device extends the reach and use of any smartphone or tablet beyond available cell networks, providing connectivity for voice and data communications almost anywhere in the world.
Iridium GO! creates a mini satellite-backed Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling up to five smartphones or tablets within a 100 foot radius to make calls, get email, text, and use some apps, even when cell networks are non-existent, unreliable, or too costly. The best part is, you don't need a dedicated satellite phone or data cable in order to make calls or send an email- simply use your existing phone or iPad like you would on any WiFi hotspot.
Iridium GO! is incredibly simple to use. Raising the antenna turns on the device, which then automatically connects to the Iridium network and establishes a Wi-Fi connection. Through either the iOS or Android app on your phone, Iridium GO! enables you to make voice calls, send text messages, use location-based (GPS) services and SOS functions. You can send email (and access your contacts to do so), send Tweets and posts to Facebook, upload photos, use the mobile web, access weather information, and report an emergency.
In an interesting move, Iridium is licensing the capability to allow app developers to utilize the Iridium satellite network through Iridium GO! in order to extend the capabilities of the device even further. I can't wait to see which apps make themselves Iridium compatible. Strava in the remote Himalaya anyone?
Although Iridium sent me all the product information, they are not open to talking about price as of yet. However, expect it to be one of their lowest product/service offerings in order to make it more accessible for those of us outdoor enthusiasts that regularly head into the no service zone. Watch this space. Iridium Go! should be available by Q2 2014.