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First Android phone with built-in two-way satellite texting is here
- Motorola and Bullitt Group have launched the Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 smartphones with built-in two-way satellite messaging.
- The phones have the exact same harware but are available in different regions.
- Motorola has also announced a compact satellite link device that gives any Android and iOS device satellite connectivity.
Motorola and Bullitt have launched the world’s first Android phone with two-way satellite texting built in from the get-go.
The device is called the Motorola Defy 2 for North America, Latin America, and Canada. Meanwhile, it’ll be marketed as the
CAT S75 with a slightly different rear cover design in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The rugged smartphone comes with a built-in two-way satellite messenger called the Bullitt Satellite Messenger. It’s the first satellite-based direct-to-device messaging service for Android phones. It is built on standards defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), an umbrella term for several standards organizations developing mobile telecommunications protocols.
How does it work?
The Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 can access existing geostationary satellites to exchange text messages using the Bullitt Satellite Messenger. The service should work as long as users have a clear view of the sky. It will first try connecting to Wi-Fi or cellular as usual. The messenger will connect via satellite if none of these networks are available.
Recipients without the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app can receive a message as a simple SMS to their existing phone and are invited to download the associated Android or iOS app to respond. They will not be charged for receiving a message via satellite, as the cost of these texts will be deducted from the satellite messaging subscriber’s plan.
The type of messages users can exchange over satellite include regular text messages, location-sharing details, and check-ins.
Meanwhile, the Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 will also provide 24/7 SOS assistance via satellite communication. Satellite coverage on the phones will be available in Europe and North America at launch, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Latin America. Other regions will also be added before the end of the year.
How much do Bullitt’s satellite messaging plans cost?
Bullitt’s satellite messaging plans for the Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 start at $4.99/€4.99 for the Essential pack that gets you up to 30 two-way messages per month and SOS assist for 12 months. Other heavier usage plans are also available, going up to $59.99 for 250 satellite-based messages per year and the emergency response service.
Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 specs and price
As we said before, the Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 are essentially the same phones with different names. They feature a 6.6-inch 120Hz FHD+ display clad in Gorilla Glass Victus. They have military-grade durability, IP68 and IP69K ingress protection, the octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 930 chipset, a 5,000 mAh battery, 15W charging, a 50MP + 8MP (wide) + 2MP (macro) rear camera setup, and an 8MP front shooter. A separate MediaTek chip is responsible for the phones’ satellite communication tech.
The Motorola Defy 2 and CAT S75 come with Android 12 out of the box, which is a bit of a bummer. They also support only two years of Android updates till Android 14. They should get a total of five years of security updates. The company will offer quarterly security patches for three years and a further two years of emergency security patches as and when required.
The Motorola Defy 2 will be available from Q2 2023 from selected operators across North America, Latin America, and Canada. It’s priced at $599, which includes a 12-month subscription to the Essential plan.
The CAT S75 is available to pre-order now from selected operators and retailers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It’s priced at €599/£549, including a three-month free Bullitt’s Essentials service trial.
There’s more: The Motorola Defy Satellite Link
Motorola and Bullitt have also unveiled the Defy Satellite Link. It’s a compact, standalone Bluetooth device that allows Android or iOS devices to connect to the Bullitt Satellite Messenger service. You can use this to send and receive texts, share your location, and contact emergency services, all via satellite.
The pocket-sized device has also passed military-grade durability testing and has an IP68 rating. It houses a 600mAh battery, which the company claims is sufficient for multiple days of use. The design includes physical SOS and location check-in buttons, allowing it to offer added functions even when it’s not paired with a phone.
The Motorola Defy Satellite Link will be available across international retailers in the second quarter of 2023. It costs $99 for the device only. A bundle including a year-long Essentials Messaging service plan subscription will start at $149.