Friday, April 19, 2013

Thuraya SatSleeve for iPhone

Application: iPhone 4, 4S
Function: Satellite/iPhone communications
Cost: App Free, sleeve $499.00

Wow, there is a new way to stay globally connected with you iPhone 4 or 4S. A new device called the SatSleeve turns an ordinary iPhone into a satellite phone.  The present model fits the iPhone 4 and 4S but the iPhone 5 version is reportably in the works. The Thuraya SatSleeve App only lets you set up and use your satellite phone to make voice calls and text messages at this time.  Thuraya also plans to release a SatSleeve with data capability later this summer.

  • iPhone 4 and 4s compatible
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 12 languages
  • Voice Calls
  • SMS text
  • Battery backup 2400mAh
  • Emergency Call button
  • Coverage in 140 countries, 2/3 of the earth

Your phone simply inserts into the case and is transformed into a satellite phone.  The app pairs through Bluetooth to connect to the sleeve.  The case contains a satellite antenna and a 2400mAh battery that can also be used to recharge you iPhone.

The sleeve itself has an SOS button that can be programmed to make an emergency call to whoever you want.  The Thuraya network cover 140 countries around the world but you will notice that North and South America are missing from the coverage map.

The app shown at left links with your contacts and allows you to make calls or text your friends. The SatSleeve is easily paired to your phone.  Take the back cover off of the SatSleeve and press the pairing button on the bottom.  On your phone go to the Settings menu and turn Bluetooth "ON". The SatSleeve selection should be shown. Once it automatically pairs to your phone you will not have to pair it again.

For you world travelers this may be the ticket. Total freedom from landlines and spotty cell coverage.  The $499 dollar price tags seems pricey, but compared to a bulky satellite phone costing $600-$1500 it is a nice solution.  A $99.00 per year pre-paid calling plan has rates from 99 cents to $1.49 a minute. It is not cheap but that is the price of world wide service.

I am bummed out that they do not cover the Americas. Must be a licensing issue or something.  I can only hope that it will be offered in our area at sometime in the future.

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