British company to release a smartphone capable of communicating directly with satellites

The British company Bullitt promises to release a smartphone in early 2023 that will be able to connect directly to satellites in orbit without an external antenna. With its help, it will be possible to exchange text messages regardless of whether the ground transmitters are working.

Bullitt smartphone. Source: Bullitt

Smartphone that communicates with a satellite

The British company Bullitt specializes in the production of high-strength smartphones. On November 29, its co-founder Richard Wharton announced that at the beginning of 2023, it will launch a smartphone on the market that will be able to communicate with satellites when transmitters on Earth are not working, and they do not need an external antenna for this.

For the past 18 months, Bullitt and MediaTek have been working on creating a chip that will provide such a connection and have finally completed it. According to Wharton, users of the new phones will be able to exchange text messages anywhere. In addition, they would have access to an emergency call for help, similar to the one that Apple demonstrated on November 15.

The company does not say which satellites will provide this service. And the appearance of the smartphone will become known only at the exhibition, which will be held in January. But it has already been announced that the service will first be available in Europe and North America, and then spread to other regions.

Satellite racing

The creation of a smartphone capable of directly establishing a connection via satellite without external devices has become the main trend in the mobile communications market in the world. We are not talking about a full-fledged exchange of audio and video traffic yet. A system capable of transmitting short text messages will already be considered a success.

Satellite companies and mobile operators are now busy implementing this idea. Apple was the first to create a ready-made commercial product. Although their messaging is only possible between phones released by this company. And sending a message takes from 15 seconds to 3 minutes.

Bullitt assures that its system will allow sending messages within 10 seconds, and it will be possible to communicate with any phone using satellite communication. They already conducted the relevant tests back in October.

A competitor from California

There are a lot of companies that are on the path of creating a chip that provides communication with satellites. For example, the California startup eSAT Global is developing a chip that provides direct access to satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

Now this company is negotiating with mobile phone manufacturers about the use of these chips in their products. eSAT Global promises that they will be able to use the capabilities of the Yahsat and Inmarsat satellites, which are currently not in use.

But in general, there is no consensus among the developers of such solutions as to whether it is necessary to use satellites in geosynchronous orbit, or devices in low Earth orbit. The first ones are almost always within reach, but their throughput is quite low.

Satellites in low Earth orbit provide significantly better quality, but they fly over a certain place quite rarely. But if there are a lot of such devices, then their use will be a much better solution than using geostationary satellites.

According to

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