Motorola prepares Defy 5G, a rugged smartphone with satellite connectivity

The Motorola Defy 5G could be the first Motorola smartphone from which you can send and receive SMS messages via satellite.

As befits a smartphone in the rugged category, the Defy 5G doubles the protection offered by the shock, dust and moisture-resistant casing with satellite connectivity, to be used to send and receive SMS messages from remote locations not covered by terrestrial mobile networks.

Unlike the satellite connectivity already announced on Apple and Samsung phones, Motorola’s service is not limited to text message exchanges with emergency service operators, with a partnership signed with UK manufacturer Bullitt Group allowing the addition of two-way satellite connectivity, making it easier to send and receive SMS messages. So we can expect the new service to be included on future Motorola phones, starting with top- and mid-range models.

Bullitt Group has already confirmed the availability of its satellite communications service starting in the first quarter of 2023, so the launch of Motorola Defy 5G can’t be too far behind.

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The Motorola Defy series of phones debuted in 2021, with the company’s first rugged phone also being developed in partnership with Bullitt Group. We’re talking about a mid-range smartphone, similar in specs to other Moto devices, but equipped with a casing resistant to water, dust, mechanical shock and other “extreme” use cases.

Like the first model in the series, the new Motorola Defy 5G will have IP68 and MIL-SPEC 810H certifications, being able to withstand under 1.5 meters deep water or drops from 1.8 meters high on cement. MIL-SPEC 810H certification also ensures resistance to other types of hazards, such as extreme temperatures or vibration. The phone comes equipped with a lanyard, so it can be clipped to clothing or a backpack.

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While technical details are not known, we can expect a mid-tier configuration based on a Snapdragon chipset with 5000 mAh battery, respectively a decent but not spectacular camera assortment with decent performance.

As for satellite connectivity, this will be provided free of charge for the first year only and limited to SOS support. Instead, satellite SMS messaging support will be unlocked on a $4.99/month subscription basis. While that seems like a lot for just exchanging SMS messages, the service could be a crucial aid when hiking in the mountains or other remote locations.

Launched for €329 in stores, the first Motorola Defy was one of the cheapest rugged phones on the market. It remains to be seen if the new model with 5G and satellite connectivity will manage to stay at a similar price point.

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