Iridium Communications is enabling smartphone and laptop users to get data access anywhere in the world via one of its satellite phone handsets.
Iridium, which operates the Iridium satellite constellation, is adding new products and services that allow Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, tablets and laptops to connect via the Iridium global network.
The Iridium AxcessPoint is a Wi-Fi accessory that connects BlackBerry and Android devices to the Iridium Extreme or Iridium 9555 satellite phones. It is expected to be available in Q4 2011 at less than $200 (£125).
Owners of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, and Windows and Mac laptops, have to download the Iridium AxcessPoint Mail and Web applications to access their data, but these are both free to download.
Meanwhile, Iridium AxcessPoint Connect turns any Windows laptop into a global Wi-Fi hotspot when connected to a satellite phone. Customers also need the Iridium Direct Internet software connectivity tool, but this and AxcessPoint Connect are free to download.
Iridium's satellite network enables a data connection from virtually anywhere in the world. However, data speeds are slow compared to terrestrial cellular networks, with a base speed of just 2.4Kbit/s.
Iridium said this is good enough for remote email access, and performance can be increased using Iridium AxcessPoint Mail & Web software, which boosts web browsing speeds by up to five times and email transmission up to 15 times.
Standard airtime charges apply for data access over the Iridium network. The products are expected to be available via Iridium's global reseller partners.
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