Launchpad CommunicAsia: We bring you news of the most significant tech launches and announcements at CommunicAsia this week:
From Anand Parthasarathy in Singapore
Satcom solutions leader Inmarsat, has launched its first global handheld satellite phone – the IsatPhone Pro -- which will harness its own network to provide world-wide connectivity to any mobile or landbased telephone network.
With 8 hours of talk time, 100 hours of hot standby and tough environmental specifications, the IsatPhone also offers GPS location sensitivity – and the ability to tag this information to every call made.
Capable of voice, text and email messaging, the phone is cannily designed to provide the comfort of familiarity to users of mobile phones, with GSM-style interfaces, a large keypad and a colour screen.
“This will shake up the global handset market”, said Helen Stalker, Inmarsat’s Commercial Director for Global satphone services. Thirteen partners will provide the actual service in different geographies, using Inmarsat’s phone device and satellite network. “The network is assured for at least 10 years and the service will be global from Day One”, she added.
The suggested retail price for IsatPhone Pro is US$699, although pricing promotions are expected to bring the end-user price to US$500-600.
The ability to operate in the world’s most remote and communication-challenged areas, as well as its potential as a disaster management or strategic solutionm, is seen as the IsatPhone’s USP.
Unveiled on the sidelines of the annual CommunicAsia show in Singapore, now on going, the phone was offered to media reps to try out. Voice quality is crystal clear and the echo or delay caused by the over 70,000 km round trip to a geosynchronous satellite and back is barely perceptible. $ 500 and whatever the service provider charges for connectivity, may not be a big price to pay for places and situations where communication is the biggest challenge-- and need.
While calls from IsatPhone and other satellite phones can be made to numbers in India, the phones themselves cannot be currently bought in India by lay users, on security considerations. However such phones are known to be sanctioned for specific and approved applications, mostly connected with defence, emergency or disaster management situations.
June 14 2010