The iPhone 14 may have pioneered the idea of a satellite-connected smartphone, but now the first Android phone with this feature has arrived – and it’s already more powerful than Apple’s Emergency SOS. To highlight this, Motorola has also introduced a Bluetooth add-on that provides satellite messaging for both Android and iOS devices.
The Motorola Defy 2 (or CAT S75 if you live in Europe, the Middle East and Africa) is a sturdy looking, fully waterproof Android phone that gives you two-way satellite communication that goes beyond just contacting emergency services. Qualcomm and Samsung are also bringing satellite messaging capabilities to more Galaxy phones – but unfortunately the Samsung Galaxy S23 lineup probably doesn’t have all the necessary components, so you’ll have to wait for the Galaxy S24.
In a similar way to the iPhone’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature, you’ll be able to send SMS via Bullitt Satellite Messenger when you don’t have any cellular service and you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. You can send these messages to the SOS service or to one of your contacts.
The benefit of messaging anyone is that it gives you the opportunity to check in with friends and family while exploring the wilderness and let them know you are safe. That way, if they don’t hear from you, they’ll know they may need to contact emergency services – because you could be injured or rendered incapacitated and unable to call for help on your own.
We were really impressed when we tried out the capabilities of the iPhone’s satellite phonealthough we hope we never have to use it. Emergency SOS via satellite allows iPhone 14 owners to communicate with emergency services even when their phone is not connected to Wi-Fi or cell tower.
By standing outside and pointing your phone at a satellite (a task your phone helps you with), you can send and receive text messages from the emergency services telling them what happened and where you are so they can be rescued.
Sure, sending and receiving messages was slow, but that’s the nature of satellite phone communication, and otherwise the tool was pretty easy to use. Including it on the iPhone 14 will almost certainly save lives, so we were hoping Android devices would get the feature soon as well.
That’s the case now, starting with the Motorola Defy 2. But if you like the phone you already have, don’t worry – Motorola and Bullitt also unveiled Get rid of the satellite link (opens in a new tab). It’s a Bluetooth device that can turn any Android or iOS phone into a satellite phone that can communicate via Bullitt Satellite Messenger. The rugged device has an IP68 water resistance rating and Motorola claims its 600mAh battery will last for days of use.
The Defy Satellite Link will launch later this year for $99/£99 while the Motorola Defy 2/CAT S75 will retail for $599/£549. Although you will have to pay extra to actually use the Bullitt service.
In the US, the Defy 2 comes with a 12-month subscription to the Essential plan, while in the UK you get three months for free. Then you have to pay $4.99 / €4.99 for the Essential plan, which gives you the ability to send 30 two-way messages per month and access to SOS support for 12 months. There are more expensive plans that give you access to more messages if you think 30 messages isn’t enough.