Motorola's Defy now lets you send texts via satellite in US, Europe

Announced in February, the Bluetooth-connected device is now available for purchase in stores.
Ameya Paleja
The Motorola Defy Satellite Link
The Motorola Defy Satellite Link


Motorola's Defy Satellite Link will now let U.S. and continental European users bounce off text messages from any remote location using infrastructure in outer space. The device's 150-dollar ($) price tag is far less than one would have to spend to buy iPhone 14, which provides a similar feature.

When Apple announced its SOS feature using satellite communication last year, it did sound like a major leap. However, as with all things in technology, a little wait offers something better and often at a lower pinch to the pocket.

Interesting Engineering previously reported Motorola's plans for Defy Satellite Link earlier in February this year, and the company is sticking to its plan to make the device available in Q2. For $150, a buyer can use the device to not only trigger SOS calls for help but even communicate their exact need through text messages.

How does the device work?

Motorola's device does not discriminate whether your smartphone runs on iOS or Android or is the latest model or not. All it needs is Bluetooth to pair with your device. Weighing under three ounces (70 grams), Defy can be a keychain fob or attached to a backpack, always traveling with you.

When you send a message through your phone, the MediaTek MT6825 connectivity chip looks to connect to the Inmarsat satellites, of which there are 14 in geostationary orbit. You can practically text any number using the device. The recipient, though, needs to use the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app to respond and will be prompted through SMS to download it if they do not have one.

The device isn't locked to any smartphone, so if you are a family of adventurers who go to far-off locations, it can be used by anybody with a charged smartphone, while its 600mAh (milliampere-hour) battery has juice in it.

How many messages can one send?

In a world where services like Starlink are promising high-speed internet in remote locations, it might be silly to ask if there is a quota on how many messages one can send. And yet here we are.

To get Starlink-like services, one not only needs to carry the terminal everywhere but also arrange for a power source to get it to connect with the satellites. So, with a highly portable, pocket-sized device, even text messages are a premium.

Back in February, Motorola had said that the device price of $149 would include a year's service. This would consist of 30 messages every month. The new offering also says the same under the most basic "Essentials" pack but includes a year's worth of SOS Assist as a free trial.

All other packs from Motorola include larger limits on messages being sent every month, maxing out at 400 when paying a $30 rental a month.

Essentially, this means that the most essential feature of being able to call for help won't be bundled with the device but become chargeable once you have used it for a good period of time.

It is understandable since the device does not just ping someone about your whereabouts but also engages an SOS response Center team when you call for help. That said, we need to wait a while to know how much that will be charged.

Users in Canada and Alaska need to wait till September till the device is operational in these regions. The rest can simply pick it up in popular stores in their city.

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