The marvel of modern communications is that nothing is too excessively slow and expensive for companies to produce. Iridium, known for their line of severely expensive satellite phones and the equally outrageous pricing plan for minutes, has released news of their newest equipment: WiFi.
Now, let’s take into account the fact that having a normal conversation over their network is difficult because of quality, and add to that a data communication, that relies on clear and accurate passing of little 0’s and 1’s. What do you get? A piece of equipment that essentially uses your very expensive satellite minutes as a dial up modem/ Wi-Fi router.
The idea behind the equipment is to allow wi-fi devices such as smartphones to be able to reach the web and pull down your email – and more importantly, check your Farmville. [ed – loljk] Blackberry and Android devices are supported, iOS devices and PC/Macs will have to download a specialized Iridium web and mail application. I assume this application allows for redonkulously slow speeds instead of timing out, as well as being both secure and streamlined in terms of data.
Gizmodo estimates the data rate at about 28k, which is probably accurate, given the call quality one usually receives from Iridium. What’s really cool about this is that it’s fairly cheap ($200) and will allow photographers/newscasters around the world to bypass local firewalls to get news out, and in a relatively small package.
Hat Tip to Neal Daringer