Satellite messaging now possible on Android and iPhone with a new $99 Bluetooth accessory

To be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, it will be available in Q2 of this year.
Ameya Paleja
The Motorola Defy Satellite Link
The Motorola Defy Satellite Link


If you have been eyeing the latest Apple iPhone to get access to the satellite messaging feature, then Motorola has a simpler solution that does much more. The Motorola Defy Satellite link can turn any Android or Apple phone into an emergency messaging service using geostationary satellites orbiting 22,300 miles (~36,000 km) above the surface of the Earth. The device just needs to connect to the phone via Bluetooth.

With the iPhone 14, Apple unveiled the ability to connect to satellites in case of emergencies even when the phone is out of cellular network or Wi-Fi coverage areas. Users of the Android operating system are still waiting to know if any of the upcoming high-end phones would offer similar features, even though chipmaker Qualcomm has announced the feature. Either way though, users would a major phone upgrade to get access to these features. Unless they opt for Motorola's Defy which costs just $99.

Motorola's Defy Satellite Link

The Defy Satellite link is a credit-card-sized device that weighs no more than three ounces (70 g). Designed to be used as a keychain fob, the device can be attached to a backpack, belt, or essential gear when you are outdoors. Armed with IP68 protection, the device is dustproof and waterproof as per the company's claims and is powered by a 600 mAh battery that can last for days at an end.

The Defy Satellite Link isn't locked onto any mobile device. So, one device can be used by multiple people in a household, as long as it is paired with their smartphone. At the core of the device lies MediaTek's 3GPP-NTN standard modem that connects to the satellites thousands of miles above.

Needless to say but the emergency services are available only if one subscribes to the SOS Assist pack, which starts at $4.99 a month. For those looking for a little more than emergency assistance, there is a $149 annual subscription that provides 30 two-way text messages per month in addition to the SOS assistance.

To use the text message service, the user needs to download the Bullitt Satellite messenger app on their phone. The app will connect to Bullitt's Skylo-backed network which will use Inmarsat and EchoStar satellites to send your messages to a ground station, from where they will be routed to the intended recipient. For two-way communication, the recipient will also have to download and install the app, instructions which will accompany the first message the user sends.

For days when the smartphone battery dies, the Defy Satellite link has two buttons, a location check-in button to alert a dear one of your location or a physical SOS button to call for help. The SOS assistance is provided through FocusPoint International, which has 24/7 monitored response centers to handle emergency and assistance requests.

The device is expected to be launched in the Q2 of this year with satellite coverage across Europe and North America also going live with the launch.

The report contained information that appeared first on The Verge and ZDnet.

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