Satellite phones are usually pretty expensive, both to buy and to use. That’s to be expected, since you’re going to have a hard time getting cell phone service in the middle of the jungle. With Spot Connect, though, you can tweet and text on the (relatively) cheap.
I spotted this little jem during the CES Unveiled event. The little brick connects with the satellites, pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and effectively gives it enough of a connection for you to communicate with the world. It helps that Globalstar is a part of this project too, since they specialize in satellite communications.
The good news is that you’ll be able to send out text messages, check your email, and even update your Facebook and Twitter through your smartphone. The bad news is that it won’t do voice calls, so you’d better have a lot of Twitter followers who can get you out of a bind with a Bengal tiger.
The Spot Connect device itself carries an MSRP of $170, but most retailers are selling it in the $150 range. Then, you’ll need to subscribe to the $100/year basic service. From what I understand, regular SMS can get truncated (to 41 characters, unless you use the pre-composed 120 character messages) and there are some other limitations. You can add more features for more money, naturally. At least the Android and (pending approval from Apple) iPhone app are free.
SPOT Connect™ turns leading smartphones into a personal one-way satellite communicator capable of sending messages with GPS position to personal contacts, social networks or to summon help in emergencies from remote areas beyond cellular coverage
Las Vegas, NV – (Date to release: January 4, 2011) Spot LLC continues to pioneer innovation in satellite communications, bringing global messaging technology into the hands of millions worldwide. A wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: GSAT), Spot LLC today announced SPOT Connect, a new SPOT satellite communicator capable of sending messages over the Globalstar satellite network from smartphone operating systems. Winner of this year’s CES Innovations Award in Design and Engineering in the Personal Electronics category, SPOT Connect will showcase this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Today’s smartphones provide mobile social connection. But when users go off-grid, their smartphone needs help. SPOT Connect provides connectivity to global communication satellites for sending location-based messages from around town or areas outside of cellular phone coverage. By simply downloading the SPOT Connect app, SPOT Connect wirelessly synchs via Bluetooth with smartphone operating systems like Android. SPOT message features are then initiated using the SPOT Connect app on the smart device.
“For the first time ever, urban professionals, outdoor enthusiasts and world travelers can utilize cost-efficient, personal satellite communications directly from their smartphone.” said Peter Dalton, President of Spot LLC and CEO of Globalstar, Inc. “When paired with SPOT Connect your everyday smartphone overcomes traditional limitations associated with cellular coverage, keeping you better connected to your personal contacts and social groups like Facebook and Twitter when you want to be.”
Additional Benefits and features:
• Uses the GPS satellite system to determine location and the Globalstar satellite network to transmit that information to personal contacts or an international emergency response center
• Send location-based messages via satellite to others delivered as SMS text or email
• Send custom “Type and Send” 41 character text messages from your location
• Update social networks including Facebook, Twitter and SPOT Adventures from remote locations
• Provide GPS functionality to non-GPS devices
• Utilize proven SPOT messaging features – Send custom or predefined messages, Track Progress on Google Maps™, or transmit an SOS message in an emergency
• Store up to 10 predefined messages for quick reference and sending
• Create and save contact groups to receive your SPOT Connect message. Each contact group can contain multiple contacts consisting of cell phone numbers and or email addresses
• On device SOS button for standalone emergency operation
• Web & Mobile account management
• Bluetooth wireless connection
• Waterproof to IPX7 standard
• Lightweight at 3.7 ounces, SPOT Connect is portable and can be used handheld or attached to a pack or RAM mounting system
The SPOT Connect app can be downloaded anytime and works when SPOT Connect is registered with SPOT Basic Service and paired with the smart device. SPOT Connect is compatible with some of today’s leading smartphone operating systems such as Android . Additional smartphone compatibility is scheduled for release later this year.
Spot LLC is showcasing SPOT Connect and its entire line of award-winning satellite GPS tracking and messaging products at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Trade Show at SPOT booth number 35647 located in the IT Wireless Zone, South Hall 4.
Pricing and Product Availability Information:
SPOT Connect retails $169.99 MSRP plus a required annual subscription service starting at $99.99 per year and is scheduled to begin shipping this January to retail locations and online sites specializing in GPS, outdoor recreation and personal electronics. For more information on SPOT Connect and other SPOT products and location-based satellite service offerings like SPOT Assist Roadside and BoatUS Towing Services, visit www.findmespot.com
SPOT satellite coverage works around the world, including all of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia Northern and Central Africa, portions of South America and North-Eastern Asia and hundreds or thousands of miles offshore of these areas.
About Spot LLC
Spot LLC, a subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: GSAT), provides emergency notification technology that allows users to communicate from remote locations around the globe. The SPOT product family uses both the GPS satellite network to determine a customer’s location and the Globalstar network to transmit messages and GPS coordinates to others including an international rescue coordination center. Thanks to this affordable, cutting edge personal safety device, the company offers people peace of mind by allowing customers to notify friends and family of their location and status, and to send for emergency assistance in time of need, completely independent of cellular phone or wireless coverage. For more information on how Spot LLC is helping others stay connected – from disaster preparedness to outdoor adventure – visit www.findmeSPOT.com.