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Satelite cell phones?

I’m a very slow adopter of all things. But, my stubbornness notwithstanding i think alot of folks who do more than day trip style recreation are gonna very much wanna maintain a dedicated safety device.

Phones are for pictures, videos, onX, and honestly aren’t as rugged as an inreach device and adding in the necessity to recharge to also maintain the absolute necessity of a safety net becomes too much for me. And on top of all that, my device has been purchased already, it won’t be until it’s too old or breaks that I will re think all of this. But until then, that garmin subscription is gonna be turned on from basically May through November every year.
I understand that view. I really want to hear some real world experience on it before signing up. But I am excited at the idea of getting rid of my inreach. 1) it’s another device I have to manage the battery on and 2) it has the same shortcomings as any device. I have found I need to have a pretty open view of the sky to get it to work, it is terribly slow and I find myself waiting for many messages to get sent. And 3) the user interface on the device is just terrible.

I said years ago Apple should just buy Garmin and make the products more user friendly. They could still purchase it today with one quarter worth of earnings, but they might not need to if this works.
 
On my recent trip to AK, I had my inreach and both my phone and inreach were on at all times except during sleeping. I used my phone for navigation on and off the water as well as photos for the most part. I did use the earth app for using the inreach and never turned the screen on the inreach except to turn on and off.

My inreach lasted the entire trip without once charging it. 7 full days. My phone got charged twice using a small power bank. Power bank had 12% left and my phone was under 15% once at hotel just over 7 days.

If my phone was able to send and receive the satellite messages, I don't see how the battery life would be drastically changed but even so, I'd rather just have a slightly larger power bank or another small one left at camp rather than having to keep the inreach in my pocket as well as my phone.

The main nice thing about the inreach is for sure how easily it would be to activate sos compared to the phone. Perhaps the phone could have a way that if you held the power button the power off screen could have an sos to tap for ease.
 
Adding my 2¢ as an avid backpack hunter in the fall and SAR / mountain rescue operations leader year-round.
  • First and foremost, the ability to call for help using satellite networks is critical for anyone operating in the backcountry. Whether it's your phone or a dedicated device, please make sure you have the option when you're outside of cell range.
    • The old adage in SAR is that most people don't die of their injuries; they die of exposure after they become injured.
    • If you become injured and can't get self-rescue, just think about the amount of time it takes for someone to notice you're gone, activate SAR, then for SAR to find you (all the while not knowing if you're dead, injured, or just late).
    • If you're able to tell folks where you are and the nature of your injuries, your survivability goes WAY up. I can tell you from personal experience that we are able to save many, many more lives thanks to this technology than ever before.
    • I hate getting a call that a hunter is missing. I love sending medivac helicopters to exact coordinates knowing that the person truly needs that (dangerous and expensive) rescue.
  • Redundancy is important to consider. Cell phone based sat comms tech is in its infancy, and while it's extremely promising and already having great results in rescue situations, I would still recommend backcountry hunters carry a dedicated device.
 
I think your iPhone 14 already does that. It's supposed to be free for 2 years Also from what I'd read on apples page.
This was for the already existing SOS via satellite service. They have not yet said what (or even if) charges for non-SOS service might be.
 
I’d opt for the sat comm anyway. Small price to pay if your phone ever dies/fails and you’re in a pickle.
A back up plan is sometimes necessary, sometimes not. This give folks flexibility. And if other hunting buddies have recent iPhones they provide backup too. I can imagine some settings with risk profile sufficient to drag along the inReach - but in most settings for me the risk is lower and just a couple of extra batteries is enough backup. And I usually hunt with another so their phone is a backup too. Or even an old cell phone. InReach is in serious trouble.
 
Truly awesome that mankind has worked tirelessly to put satellite messaging in everyone’s pockets and made sure that we’d be able to zap emojis to outer space and back using that technology.
 
InReach is in serious trouble.
I don't think they're in trouble this fall, but they've certainly got some growing competition. As was pointed out above, Garmin InReach works on the Iridium network, which offers more than double the number of satellites than Globalstar, which provides the services that SPOT and the iPhones use. Iridium is also the primary provider for the US military, for what that's worth.

None of these technologies are flawless. We use the InReaches extensively in SAR, and there have been plenty of times where it takes half an hour to send one message, then another half an hour to get a response (that's a heck of a long time when someone is injured).

All this to say: they're powerful tools with limitations that need to be considered.

Sat coms should be part of your emergency plan, not the entire thing.
 
I don't think they're in trouble this fall, but they've certainly got some growing competition. As was pointed out above, Garmin InReach works on the Iridium network, which offers more than double the number of satellites than Globalstar, which provides the services that SPOT and the iPhones use. Iridium is also the primary provider for the US military, for what that's worth.

None of these technologies are flawless. We use the InReaches extensively in SAR, and there have been plenty of times where it takes half an hour to send one message, then another half an hour to get a response (that's a heck of a long time when someone is injured).

All this to say: they're powerful tools with limitations that need to be considered.

Sat coms should be part of your emergency plan, not the entire thing.
I agree with much of the above, but if you look at most business financials even a 15% drop in customer base can tank profitability. So yes, we will have a need for them, but there is a chance they lose enough to die.
 
I agree with much of the above, but if you look at most business financials even a 15% drop in customer base can tank profitability. So yes, we will have a need for them, but there is a chance they lose enough to die.
I'm not sure we need Garmin's InReach program, but I get what you're saying. Garmin, frankly, has been resting on their laurels, mainly their acquisition of DeLorme (who created the InReach in the first place), for long enough and deserves some good old-fashioned competition from firms large enough to threaten them. The entre of Apple (and Samsung, if they ever actually deliver a working cell phone satcom product, that is) can only mean good things for the civilian satcom market, IMHO.
 
the little bear peak accident and fatality in colorado during the summer of 2010 which was a prominent story for being horrifying and sad while also involving a crash landed national guard chinook en route for rescue, was also a prominent story due to the failure of two SPOT devices at the same time.

i've remained entrenched in being anti any device that relies on the Globalstar network ever since.

another reason of several i'll stick with my inreach as my dedicated device as the cell phone SOS tech continues to mature.
 
Last edited:
...the summer of 2010...

i've remained entrenched in being anti any device that relies on the Globalstar network ever since.
Wow. That's some serious grudge-holding. 14 years is a very, very long time in the realm of technology.
 
You are the product in Android - there is nothing “free” about it. Their use of your data would astound you if you dug in a bit.
Nice twist... No comment whatsoever about information both APPLE and ANDROID share, none the less most all apps / Websites / Political party / News media / Social sites (i.e. FB) / T.V. (i.e. Netflix, Amazon) / shopping online, etc, etc, etc.

My comment related to the simple practice of free market app code builds.
FREE MARKET = the code is open to all to create applications. Apple likes to keep their sheep within their own apps.
 
My comment related to the simple practice of free market app code builds.
FREE MARKET = the code is open to all to create applications. Apple likes to keep their sheep within their own apps.
I think the two are pretty similar. A person can get a developer license and build their own app and download it to their iphone. It is possible to avoid the App Store for both android and apple. But if you want wider distribution, as most do because they want to make money, then you have to go through the App Stores and pay the fees.

I think VG is pointing out that everyone is trying to make money, and anyone working in new developments in either system want to be paid. Satcom is a prime example. Nothing useful in life is free. I have heard that once you get on either company’s “ecosystem” it is hard to switch. But that’s probably a feature not a bug.
 
I don't think they're in trouble this fall, but they've certainly got some growing competition. As was pointed out above, Garmin InReach works on the Iridium network, which offers more than double the number of satellites than Globalstar, which provides the services that SPOT and the iPhones use. Iridium is also the primary provider for the US military, for what that's worth.

None of these technologies are flawless. We use the InReaches extensively in SAR, and there have been plenty of times where it takes half an hour to send one message, then another half an hour to get a response (that's a heck of a long time when someone is injured).

All this to say: they're powerful tools with limitations that need to be considered.

Sat coms should be part of your emergency plan, not the entire thing.

The iridium network is maybe 80 satellites and they are older tech, mil spec has always been the lowest bidder...Starlink is up 6k sats...Inreach will be like pagers..they be around till the service plan for your phone gets cheap enough.
 
I have heard that once you get on either company’s “ecosystem” it is hard to switch. But that’s probably a feature not a bug.
It’s called “path dependence” and is absolutely a known human behavior. Once you are far enough down a certain path (e.g. have an iPhone and an iPad), you are more likely to continue down that path (e.g. Apple Watch and ear buds). I have everything Apple except for my laptop, which is a sort of path dependent thing itself because I’m used to Windows and don’t want to switch.
 
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