Posted: Sep 15, 2011 03:08 pm EDT (HumanEdgeTech.com) Last week during a press conference Iridium CEO Matthew J. Desch launched the new Iridium phone Extreme.
The phone is a little smaller, lighter and tougher than the previous model 9555 but for explorers it's a small attachment that might just revolutionize dispatching.
IRIDIUM 9575 handset
The new 9575 has built in GPS which allows tracking and SOS with positions attached. Check specs here.
The new AxcessPoint connects by USB to Iridium 9575 (or the previous 9555 model) and establishes a wifi hotspot.
This is a much more simple solution than offered earlier by Iridium or other service providers.
IRIDIUM into new times?
Since joining Iridium in 1996 Desch has brought the company to Nasdaq and completed financing of the next-generation satellites planned to be up by 2015-16.
Satellite phone companies are generally infamous for bad support and lack of understanding of the consumer market. Desch might be moving Iridium and its close to 500,000 subscribers into new times however.
During the press conference the Iridium CEO stressed the importance of extending the reach of Iridium beyond satellite phones. Simplify and open up the technology to partners was also on the agenda.
All the upgraded satellite fleets and merge with mobile promise much excitement in the near future.
CONTACT, Iridium and iPhone
Any computer with wifi including iPhone, iPad and Android devices can access the internet with the new Iridium AxcessPoint. Tom Sjogren explained:
"After a hard day of skiing or climbing we're all ready for the KISS (keep it short and simple). That, plus minimizing weight and redundancy, are such keys to successful expedition technology."
"Iridium is moving forward and we have recognized the opportunities," Sjogren said. "Right now two of our programmers work on iPhone, iPAD and Android versions of CONTACT aiming at beta launch around October 1. It will be really cool to be able to bring the iPhone to the South Pole and hook up to the internet - something that hasn't been possible so far - this is fun."
No matter how hot, new (untested) tech is not always the smartest choice for an important, hard and costly expedition though. If you are going the distance - leaving early November and skiing all the way to the Pole - we would not recommend the new Iridium 9575 as a first choice.
Stick to the 9555 or 9505A but do bring 9575 as a backup to play with until all the usual tech glitches have been ironed out.
The 9575 should be an excellent choice however for last degree and Vinson expeditions.
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