It sounds almost too good to be true – could we really be on the verge of having a global satellite phone network that will work with our existing smartphones? That’s what Yaliny reckon – and they want people who share their vision to stump up $1million to help make it a reality.
The way Yaliny would work is simple: 370 miles above our heads there will be a network of 135 lower Earth orbit satellites, and to connect to them all you have to do is carry around a small receiver device, which is about the size of a mobile phone (a bit like a Uros Goodspeed perhaps).
When switched on this will connect to the satellites, and create a wifi/bluetooth hotspot for you to connect your iPhone or Android device too. Once paired you should, so they claim, be able to enjoy connectivity from anywhere in the world.
Where this differs from normal satellite phones is that the phone isn’t a bulky brick – instead, you can use your existing smartphone. Which seems pretty smart. The other difference is that the company are envisaging the service being much cheaper than existing satellite phones – with talk of the device costing $150 and service costing $10/month.
Apparently initial speeds will give downloads of up to 2Mbps, with only 350-400ms of latency – and the company are claiming that they’ll be able to offer unlimited data to boot.
Sounds great, right? The only real stumbling block is that, umm, they need to build 135 satellites.
To try to raise the cash for this they’ve launched an Indigogo crowdfunder aiming to raise a million. Whilst this will only pay for one satellite, it means that if they can build and launch one working device big corporate investors will get out the chequebooks and pay for the rest.
If all goes to plan, the first satellites will be launched in 2016 with the service for consumers beginning by the end of that year. We admire their optimism.
By James O'Malley | April 24th, 2014