Earlier this year, just ahead of Mobile World Congress, Motorola announced a dongle that enables any mobile phone to connect to a satellite messaging service.
The Motorola Defy Satellite Link connects to a handset via Bluetooth and uses the Bullitt Satellite Connect network to ensure that users can keep into touch, no matter where they are on the planet. And now it is available in multiple countries, including the UK, US and Central Europe.
Satellite communication is a relatively new technology for consumers, although it's been in use for governmental and emergency purposes for many years. It normally requires a dedicated phone to connect, but some companies, such as Apple with its Emergency SOS via Satellite system, are working to change that.
The Defy Satellite Link is further step forward still - it is a separate device, which works much like a mobile hotspot.
It allows two-way personal messaging from remote spots where a normal mobile signal is unavailable. You just need to download a dedicated Bullitt Satellite Messenger app to your iPhone or Android handset, create a personal account and pair the dongle. Then you can send and receive messages.
The device itself comes with a physical "check-in" button that, when pressed, enables real-time location sharing. This will alert family, friends or colleagues and give them tracking information so they can see your progress. A satellite SOS function is also on board.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the Motorola Defy Satellite Link is its price. Satellite connectivity is usually pretty expensive, with hefty subscription fees, but in this case you get a whole year's Essentials Messaging plan and satellite-enabled SOS subscription included in the price of the device itself.
It costs £159.99 in the UK, $149.99 in the US, and €169.99 in Europe.
The Essential Messaging plan includes up to 30 two-way messages per month and SOS assist. This latter feature offers 24/7 access to emergency response centers around the globe (which are run by FocusPoint International).
It usually costs £4.99 per month, with additional step-up plans also available that provide many more messages.
The Motorola Defy Satellite Link is available from numerous retailers, including B&H Photo and AT&T in the States. You can find out more from Motorola's dedicated website.
We tested the dongle out and about in the UK earlier this year, you can read all about our experiences with it.