Thuraya SatSleeve Lets You Use Your iPhone Anywhere
- By Alex Colon march 21, 2013 03:20pm EST
Want to use your iPhone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? There’s a case for that.
Thuraya Telecommunications, a mobile satellite operator, just announced a new way to get your iPhone online: Satellite. The Thuraya SatSleeve is a consumer-friendly case that connects your iPhone to Thuraya’s satellite network, allowing you to stay connected almost anywhere in the world. We learned more about it at an event today in New York City.
Unfortunately, no physical SatSleeves were on hand at the event. But from the images and video in the presentation, it looks like a chunky iPhone case with an antenna in the upper left hand corner. The SatSleeve is a two-part solution. You dock the phone into a cradle, then slip the “Sleeve” onto the back. Your phone connects to the Sleeve via Bluetooth, but you need to download Thuraya’s app from the App Store first to get it all set up. The app also allows you to program the emergency button on the back of the case, which will automatically dial the number of your choice when you press it.
If the SatSleeve looks like a battery case, that’s because it is. A 2,400mAh battery provides extra juice for your iPhone while you’re out mountain climbing. Thuraya owns and operates two satellites that provide coverage of Europe, Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Australia. Through roaming agreements with various carriers worldwide (like AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.), Thuraya’s SatSleeve can keep you connected almost anywhere in the world. Once you’re connected to the Sleeve, you can make and receive calls as you normally would; they’re just going to cost a whole lot more.
Right now, the SatSleeve only supports voice calls and text messages, and only works with the iPhone 4 and 4S. An iPhone 5 $549.00 at Amazon version is expected within the next month. Both are expected to sell for a hefty $499, with your average satellite call costing around $1.25 per minute.
Thuraya plans to release another SatSleeve in August that supports data as well. The data Sleeve will connect to your phone via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, and is expected to cost between $600-$700.