Iridium to introduce iOS satellite access point later this year
If you've found that Wi-Fi, 3G, EDGE, and GPRS don't provide sufficient coverage to siphon the internet into your iOS device, you're in luck. According to Network World, Iridium is introducing new access point gear that will enable satellite-based internet access on your iPhone or iPad from pretty much anywhere on Earth.
"The two new devices enable use of data applications on mobile smartphones and tablets that have Wi-Fi capabilities," Network World says, "and the access point bridges the connection over the Iridium satellite network." While Iridium says the service should be sufficient for email and internet access, the sub-dialup 26-27 Kbps speed means accessing anything but the most basic internet services is going to be an exercise in extreme patience.
Connecting the new access point to an Iridium satellite phone allows you to create a local Wi-Fi network, and from there any Wi-Fi capable device should be able to piggyback off the satellite link. It sounds somewhat similar to the MiFi, but with a satellite signal providing data rather than 3G.
AccessPoint should cost "less than US$200" according to Iridium, but it must also be paired with a much more expensive satellite phone, and service will cost about a dollar per minute. The service will roll out with support for BlackBerry and Android devices soon, with support for iOS devices coming later this year. I guess that's good news for anyone who's sailing across the Pacific, driving across the Outback, or caravanning across the Sahara -- and wants to check in on Foursquare.
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