Yearning for the coveted satellite messaging feature of the iPhone 14, but can’t quite make the switch? Now, thanks to Motorola’s innovative Bluetooth accessory, the Motorola Defy Satellite Link, you no longer need to feel left behind. Officially on sale as of today, this nifty device—essentially a portable hotspot for satellite messaging—has you covered.
Equipped with Bluetooth, a battery, and a chip that connects you to a satellite, the Motorola Defy Satellite Link pairs with your phone and allows you to send text messages to the cosmos. This hotspot, priced at $150, is compatible with both Android and iOS devices in the U.S., providing an enticing alternative to the iPhone 14’s popular feature.
iPhone 14’s satellite messaging, since its announcement last year, has been quite the game-changer. However, it’s important to note a significant distinction between the iPhone’s capabilities and the service offered by the Motorola hotspot. While the iPhone’s satellite function is limited to sending specially crafted SOS messages to emergency services, Motorola’s offering enables comprehensive messaging, providing a platform for users to type and send any message to any contact via satellite, not just for emergency situations.
But how does it work? Motorola’s messaging service functions akin to SMS, with one prerequisite: recipients must also have the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app installed on their devices. The service also supports SMS forwarding, prompting users without the app to download it to receive your messages. It’s an innovative solution for communication when you’re off the beaten path.
Like a cellular plan, this satellite service from Bullitt Satellite isn’t free. Monthly fees for satellite access start at $5 for the “essential” plan, which includes 30 messages, while the premium plan offers 400 messages for $30. There is also a potential for additional overage charges.
While the original plan priced the gadget at $99 without service, it appears this option has been discontinued. Although Motorola’s website doesn’t elucidate the specifics of the access fees, REI’s sales page indicates that the device comes with “one year of SOS service and one year of the essential service plan.” Powered by Inmarsat satellites, the service covers the continental U.S. and Europe currently, with Canada and Alaska joining by September 2023.
However, be prepared for a slight delay in connectivity. According to Bullitt, the initial connection and message transmission can take around 10 seconds—a far cry from the instantaneity of cellular networks.
Speaking of the gadget’s specifications, this petite Bluetooth box houses a 600mAh battery that can keep the device running for up to four full days. The MediaTek MT6825 satellite connectivity chip powers the device, built to utilize the new 3GPP NTN standard. The IP68-rated device is waterproof for up to 1.5m for 30 minutes and includes GPS for location tracking. Convenient buttons allow for quick check-ins or emergency calls.
While Motorola’s site currently lists the device for pre-order, we’re assured by a recent press release that it is indeed available for purchase from several major retailers including AT&T, REI Co-op, Bass Pro.com, B&H Photo, Nomadic Supply, BlackOvis.com, GoHunt.com, and more.