“British smartphone maker Bullitt has launched a satellite-enabled phone that is capable of sending text messages via space, joining the race to commercialize satellite-enabled devices. The Cat S75 is aimed at the European market and will retail for €599 ($634.49), while the Motorola Defy 2 is for North America, starting at $599. Both phones come with 5G connectivity, a 6.6-inch display, and a 5,000 milliampere-hour battery that can last up to two full days. Messages are beamed to geostationary satellites approximately 22,000 miles above the equator before being sent back down to earth-based network infrastructure and then reaching the user’s device as a standard SMS.
The new phones come not long after Apple announced the launch of its iPhone 14, which has a feature for contacting emergency services via satellite. Device makers like Apple and chip firms like Qualcomm are betting on the untapped opportunity of putting satellite phones in the hands of people in remote areas that fall outside the reach of terrestrial telecoms infrastructure. Bullitt says that its phones go a step further than those of Apple, enabling two-way SMS messages, as well as an emergency SOS feature which the company has developed in partnership with critical event management firm Focuspoint International.
The company’s new phone looks like a regular smartphone, unlike previous satellite phones. Bullitt is also launching a Bluetooth accessory, the Motorola Defy Satellite Link, that lets any Android or iOS device connected to its Bullitt Satellite Messenger app, effectively enabling any phone to become a satellite phone. The puck-shaped device, which retails at $99, will be available in the second quarter. Bullitt will support satellite coverage in Europe and North America at launch, with Australia and New Zealand, Africa, and Latin America to follow by mid-2023.”