Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Adventure Tech: Iridium Go! Satellite Hotspot Now Shipping

Back in February of this year, I posted a story about a new product from satellite communications company Iridium called the Iridium Go! At that time, the device was newly announced, and we were just getting an early look at what it could do. The relatively small gadget would allow explorers and outdoor adventurers to stay in contact with the rest of the world while visiting remote places. Acting much like a portable WiFi hotspot, it would provide both data and voice communications, allowing a variety of devices to connect to Iridium's' network, with the Go! acting as the bridge. Thus, you could use your iPhone, tablet, or computer to send messages, post social media updates, and make phone calls from just about anywhere on the planet. The Go! promises to revolutionize the way we communicate from the field. Yesterday, Iridium announced that the device has begun shipping, and is available to consumers for the first time.

Designed for use in the remote corners of the planet, the Go! is rugged and durable. Once configured and powered on, it provides a WiFi network with a range of up to 100 feet (30 meters). This can allow users to set the device up in a location that has a clear view of the overhead sky, while they take shelter in a tent or close to natural protection. Their devices can then connect to the Go!, even though it isn't in the same physical location that they are. This helps to extend the versatility of the device for use in the backcountry. The Go! is even capable of connecting to up to five devices at the same time.

Iridium has created two free apps for use on smartphones and tablets. They include the Iridium Go! app, which is used for placing satellite phone calls, while the Iridium Mail & Web app serves as a portal for getting email, surfing the web, and connecting to social media. Additionally, Iridium has released an SDK for the platform, with other companies signing on to develop apps for the Go! as well.

The Go! carries an MSRP of $895, although there are already a few early adopter discounts being offered. Considering the amount of versatility it brings to our satellite communications from remote places, I'd say that is a reasonable price to ask. The fact that it allows you to use your existing devices, such as an iPhone or iPad, means that you can carry less gear into the field, and use a single device no matter where you go. Iridium as even future-proofed it, as the Go! is already compatible with their next generation of higher speed satellites that will begin coming online next year.

If you've been waiting for the Go! to arrive, now's your chance to pick one up, and put it to use in the field. It looks like a great little device, and I can't wait to hear how it performs.


5 comments:

Spike Wimmer said...

In the case of the DeLorme InReach, the cost of the unit is affordable until you get to the monthly charges with an annual contract to fulfill. Could you please expound on annual contractual obligations with the Iridium Go! ?

Thanks you

Kraig Becker said...

Pricing on an Iridium plan is going to be more expensive than the DeLorme InReach. Voice and data plans vary, and you can get them in "pay as you go" plans, or pre-paid. For instance, there are plans that cost as little as $50 per month, but include just 10 voice minutes.

Spike Wimmer said...

Thank you Kraig. May not be "InReach" for most thru-hiker budgets, but still an important step forward to staying in touch.

Spike

Kraig Becker said...

Definitely true Spike! And this is a device that you can split costs with friends on, since they can all connect to it, and use it. It may be pricey for the common person, but it is very versatile, and will give you a connection virtually anywhere on the planet.

aman said...
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