Yaliny wants to turn any smartphone into a satellite phone
By Heidi Hoopes
April 25, 2014
Visit an area outside of your cell network, take a vacation in a different country, or play a certain augmented reality game requiring you to have a constant high speed data connection, and congratulations, you’ll have an instant reminder of the current limitations of cellular networks. The Russian company Yaliny ambitiously hopes to help consumers circumvent traditional providers with Yaliny’s own network of satellites and an intermediary device called the Yaliny Point which will work with most smartphones, all for a promised US$150 for the hardware and $10 monthly thereafter.
The current plan calls for 135 low earth orbit satellites to provide worldwide coverage and sufficient bandwidth to allot each customer speeds of 2 Mbps (upload and download combined) and no greater latency than 350-400 ms. On the ground they’ll have 30-40 stations to aid in routing traditional phone calls and data transmissions.
The satellite design incorporates more sophisticated antenna technology in the form of a multibeam active phased array. Satellites will have many channels with their neighbors to provide communication coverage, even while over a hole on the earth without a ground station, such as an ocean.
Any phone using at least Android 2.3.x or iOS 7.1 will be able to connect to this satellite system with the aid of the Yaliny Point hardware and a free app. This cellphone-sized device will be able to maintain about ten hours of phone or web use and can connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
So, how can one get access to Yaliny? Well, after a year of relying on venture capital funds for research, Yaliny is turning to Indiegogo to continue the development of its project and expect to be shipping devices by September of 2016. Lower pledge levels will earn monthly service should the project come to fruition, while higher pledge levels include the monthly service and the Yaliny Point device, which is required to make use of the satellite telecommunication network.
However, bear in mind that the project is set at Indiegogo’s flexible spending designation, which allows Yaliny to collect funds even if the project is not fully funded. The company told us via email that were that situation to happen, it would be able to return to angel and venture funding, along with relying on some funds already raised, in order to deliver on the Yaliny Point.
The company also seems to have employed a team with the qualifications necessary to deliver on a technology that heretofore has only been partially realized by other companies in the form of satellite-based emergency systems or expensive or slow systems based around existing satellite networks. When asked about the far-off date for a consumer to actually use the system, Yaliny asserted that large communications companies didn’t have the incentive or organizational flexibility to be solving the problems with cellular anytime soon, so the problem will still remain.
The campaign ends on June 6. The pitch video below shows a phone with traditional cellular service compared to a brick.