The Extreme is Iridium’s latest satellite phone model made available last Fall, 2011. It is the smallest, lightest Iridium phone offered and this model meets US DOD military standards for water, shock and dust resistance.
Introduced like a rockstar with flashy imagery, multimedia and loads of press, the fanfare was dampened initially by a glitch that left early adopters literally powerless. Many of the new batteries were warped and could not make contact with the phone. Early glitches are typical with new Iridium product releases but after the initial inconvenience, the phone has proven to be a good performer with significant improvements over the 9555 and 9505A models.
New features include:
- Two-way emergency SOS button
- GPS capabilities with online tracking portal
- Optional Wifi (with purchase of additional hardware accessory ~ under $200)
- Diamond tread, tapered, ergonomic side grips
- Speakerphone and wind resistant mic
The Extreme is a product of the Iridium Force, a new, open-license, go-to-market process designed to accelerate development. A philosophy long overdue in the satellite communications industry. It’s truly a wonder Iridium has survived as long as they have without it.
Prior to designing the Extreme, Iridium spent time and energy interviewing resellers and heavy users. That feedback lead to these new features. Hmmm, interesting concept. Listen to your customers and implement their ideas.
Compared to the last three Iridium model upgrades that consisted of minor charger and battery enhancements and reductions in size, this upgrade is leaps and bounds ahead.
- Smaller and lighter
- More rugged, grippy sides that make it easier to hold in bad weather
- GPS tracking – Customers have wanted it for years and Iridium finally delivered
- Optional Wifi AxCess – It’s expensive but very cool to be able to use low bandwidth apps on my iPhone over the Iridium connection
- Almost immediate signal acquisition – Compared to other satellite networks and manufacturers this is the quickest
- Global coverage
- OK, it’s smaller and lighter but honestly, still big and clunky like a mid-90’s cell phone
- Two piece charger design adds another item to potentially loose
Iridium’s new social media aware, customer conscious attitude is paying off. This is the best hand-held satellite phone on the market right now. It works wherever your travels take you, has good voice quality and is simple and easy to use. With the number of improvements over past models it’s worth the upgrade.