Somewear Labs has created a waterproof hotspot for outdoor explorers that’s designed to provide 100 percent global coverage.
The 3.6-inch portable device pairs with a smartphone via Bluetooth LTE, which then connects the phone to global satellite networks. An accompanying iOS and Android app provides users with two-way communication, enabling them to chat or email with members of their contact list. Onboard GPS, meanwhile, provides location information to contacts, intended to make “off-grid” meetups easier.
The device weighs just 3 ounces and has the ability to send or receive over 1,000 messages off a single charge from the lithium-polymer battery, according to Somewear. It can be submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, and can operate in temperatures ranging from -4 to 140 degrees F.
The app also supplies real-time weather and road conditions, as well as downloadable maps. The Global Hotspot can double as a stand-alone 24/7 SOS monitoring device that’s activated with the press of a button.
Somewear intends to offer a range of data plans for consumers, with pricing ranging from $15/month for 20 satellite messages to $50/month for unlimited messages.
The company collaborated with pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones to develop and test the device. Jones has personal experience with emergency communication, having survived an avalanche in January 2017 that broke both his legs.
The Global Hotspot is expected to retail for a suggested $650. Shipping is slated to begin in July. After it’s fulfilled its Kickstarter orders, Somewear intends to sell the device direct from its website, a company spokesman told TWICE. It’s also seeking retail partners.