x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dh2,200 connects your iPhone to a satellite

A UAE company invents device that turns any iPhone into a satellite phone.

Thuraya executive Amal Ezzeddine shows off the SatSleeve. Delores Johnson / The National
Thuraya executive Amal Ezzeddine shows off the SatSleeve. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // A device that enables users to make satellite calls on their smart phones has been developed by a UAE company.

When fitted to an iPhone the Dh2,200 SatSleeve converter gives users access to Thuraya's satellite network from anywhere in the world, so they are never out of signal range. The adaptor is also a back-up battery for the iPhone.

"There has been a huge demand since the product's launch and it has exceeded our expectations," said Thuraya executive Amal Ezzeddine.

"This product can be used by military, civilian and non governmental organisations and it is cost effective."

A dedicated emergency call button on the adaptor enables users to call a pre-defined number in an emergency without the iPhone being docked.

A free SatSleeve application, available through the Apple App Store in 12 languages, is required for the converter to work.

The device was launched at the Satellite 2013 conference and exhibition in Washington DC in March.

It was created to meet the needs of executives and high ranking military officers, most of whom use smart phones.

"We developed it for the iPhone because of the security of the product, its user friendliness and its flexibility," Ms Ezziddine said.

Thuraya is also developing a similar adaptor for smart phones that run the rival Android operating system.

At US$600 (Dh2,200) the SatSleeve is cheaper than the average satellite phone, which costs $800.

New versions of the SatSleeve are under development. A Data/Wi-Fi edition will be released in September and an iPhone 5 compatible version is also expected soon.

amustafa@thenational.ae