Until now, there have been many satellite phones, but they have never been modern smartphones, because perhaps their most common uses didn’t have to be either.
The Thuraya X5-Touch, a Thuraya smartphone, after almost eleven years of Android, is the first terminal with Google’s operating system to be able to connect to satellite networks to make calls and connect to the Internet. Previously, there have been solutions for converting Android and iOS phones to support satellite networks, but the feature had never been natively integrated by a manufacturer.
It is a smartphone with 5.2 inch screen and Full HD resolution, rugged and IP68, with a Snapdragon 625 (processor more than three years old), rear and front cameras of 8 and 2 megapixels, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage and 3,800 mAh. And all this, powered by Android 7.1 Nougat. Its price is 1,250 dollars,
The manufacturer of the Thuraya X5-Touch is from Saudi Arabia and has two satellites covering more than 160 countries in Europe, part of Asia, Oceania, and part of Africa. Connecting to satellite networks, Thuraya’s mobile cannot establish connections in Latin America or the United States, although it can with GSM networks. Coverage is not always complete, and in many cases establishing a connection depends on one of the satellites passing over our position for a short period of time each hour.
What is this near-total availability of coverage used for? It is useful in situations of risk and in remote areas where normal coverage in many cases is not even feasible. Thus, the majority of uses respond to cases where very experienced people such as mountaineers or ship crews, in areas far away from telephone networks, need to establish contact with the rest of the world. Satellite phones are also widely used by rescue teams.