iPhone-style satellite connectivity on an Android phone? Motorola’s dongle lets you send SOS texts anywhere

Debuting (rather by surprise) at MWC 2023, the Motorola Defy Satellite Link does for all phones what Apple built into the iPhone 14 – gives them satellite connectivity so you can send texts in areas with little to no network coverage. The palm-sized dongle comes as a collaboration between Motorola and Bullitt, and connects to pretty much any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, making the potentially life-saving tech accessible to many more people.

Designer: Motorola & Bullitt

Built with a rugged IP68 waterproof and dustproof exterior, the Motorola Defy Satellite Link comes with a portable design that weighs a mere 3 ounces (70 grams) and can strap around your keychain or even onto your backpack using a simple carabiner clip and the strap-loop built onto the Defy itself. The Defy sports three buttons, including a power button and location button on the left, and a larger, more visible SOS button on the right. A USB-C port helps charge the Defy’s 600mAh battery, which lasts for “multiple days,” according to Motorola and Bullitt.

A hallmark of the Motorola Defy Satellite Link is that not only is it device agnostic (supporting both Android and iOS devices), but it can be used by multiple phones together once paired via Bluetooth. The large, orange SOS button on the right side helps instantly call for emergency assistance, tapping into Defy’s partnership with FocusPoint International, an ERaaS (Emergency Response as a Service) company with 24/7 monitored response centers in 120 countries that handle emergency and assistance requests. The location button built on the other side sends your current location to your close contacts, and the Defy even allows you to send text messages via the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app.

The $99 Defy Satellite Link can connect to geostationary satellites 22,300 miles (35,888 km) above the Earth using the 3GPP NTN open standard “direct-to-device” satellite communications technology, although hardware doesn’t factor in the subscription you have to pay to actually use the service. Just the SOS feature starts at $4.99 a month, and there’s also an optional $149 bundle that gets you the Defy dongle with a 1-year subscription that also includes 30 outgoing and incoming messages per month using the Bullitt Satellite Messenger app, available on Android and iOS devices.

Satellite coverage should be live across Europe and North America at launch, followed by Australia and New Zealand, Africa, and Latin America in mid-2023, according to a report by CNBC. It’s unclear when Asia (where Motorola’s parent company Lenovo is based out of) will get satellite coverage to support the Defy Satellite Link.