Thursday, December 1, 2022
A British smartphone company that releases devices under the CAT and Motorola brand has teamed up with MediaTek on a phone that will offer satellite-to-mobile messaging.
When Bullitt Group launches the device in Q1 2023, it could be a game changer for anyone living in a rural area where sending text messages isn't possible due to a lack of cellular signal.
"We have known for a long time that the answer was in satellite, but an 'invisible' and seamless integration into a smartphone creates enormous technical challenges," says Bullitt Group co-founder Richard Wharton. "MediaTek and Bullitt share a pioneering spirit and a history of innovation so now, nearly two years into our relationship, we jointly stand at the forefront of a new era in telecommunications and the quickest, simplest way for our carrier channel partners to offer total peace of mind to their customers."
This will be the first phone to use MediaTek's 3GPP NTN (Non-Terrestrial Network) chipset, which allows the phone to send messages over satellite. The software in the device knows whether the phone is connected to Wi-Fi or cellular and will only send messages over satellite when neither of the traditional messaging connections is available.
It sounds like sending messages won't take long, as Bullitt says the time to connect to the satellite and send a message is around 10 seconds. Obviously, that's slower than over cellular or Wi-Fi, but it's still a manageable timeframe.
If you live in a major metropolitan area and don't tend to go backpacking in the mountains, the importance of this innovation may be lost on you. Still, this phone could be a big deal for people who struggle to send a simple message when not connected to their home Wi-Fi.
Of course, there's a lot more we need to learn about the device before we pass judgment. We need to see what the device looks like, learn about its specs, and how much it costs to send messages over satellite before we can determine whether this is worth getting excited about.
The company did say that it will offer one year of emergency SOS support for its new device, similar to the iPhone 14.
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