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Spot expands lineup with satellite-powered Global Phone

The Spot Global Phone delivers voice and basic data to remote locations for $499.


Satellite phones may seem like a niche technology, and in many ways they are. You won't need one while roaming city streets, but they can be invaluable if you're ever trekking far from civilization -- though that didn't stop this guy from using the HTC One on Mt. Everest.

If you're an in-the-wilds type, then Spot has a new option for you. On Monday, the company announced the Spot Global Phone, a satellite handset that promises a voice and data connection in hard-to-reach places.

Though most satellite phones tend to be bulky, the Spot Global weighs in at just 7 ounces. And at 5.3 inches high by 2.2 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep, it won't add a lot of heft to your pocket. Up top is a small color display, while down below is a standard alphanumeric keypad.

With no carrier subsidy, the Spot Global doesn't come cheap, but when compared with other satellite handsets that CNET has reviewed, the $499 price tag (plus a $50 activation fee) is quite reasonable. The monthly service plans, which range from 10 minutes per month for $25 to unlimited calling for $150, aren't outrageous either. (Annual plans are available as well.)

Battery life is rated at four hours of talk time and 36 hours of standby. Sure, that's less juice than some standard phones, but this isn't a device that you'll be using for hours on end. What's more, data use is limited to e-mail and file transfers.

Spot, which is a subsidiary of Globalstar, also makes the Spot Connect satellite messenger.