iPhone owners who want to expand their coverage into the remote regions of the Earth now actually have an option that will allow them to do just that. Satellite communications provider Thuraya has announced the new SatSleeve which serves as a dock of sorts for Apple’s iconic device.
Users simply slide their iPhone 4 or 4S (an iPhone 5 model is coming soon) into the SatSleeve and they can instantly begin sending and receiving calls from anywhere within 140 countries from around the globe. That includes far flung locations such as the Himalaya, Karakoram, Sahara Desert and more.
The SatSleeve comes with its own built in battery pack which will extend the life of the phone’s battery nicely. Thuraya rates the Sleeve for 48 hours of standby and an additional 4 hours of talk time with a 2.5 hour recharge time. A built-in emergency “SOS” button allows adventurers to place a call for help to a predetermined number, even if they don’t have an iPhone docked in the sleeve. This adds a nice safety net for those traveling in the backcountry that is not unlike a SPOT communicator. A free SatSleeve app grants access to all of the device’s capabilities.
MSRP for the SatSleeve is $500, so obviously this isn’t cheap technology. A version that supports data over satellite is expected in the fall as well. Depending on price and capabilities, that might be worth waiting for. Still, this looks like a great option for iPhone users and I’d love to hear how well it works. I can’t be the only one who read about this however and immediately thought “Well that’s one way to improve AT&T’s coverage.”
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