Iridium Communications recently announced three new products—Iridium Go!, Iridium Burst and Iridium Pilot Land Station—that are designed to let customers leverage the company’s satellite connectivity in conjunction with commercial smart devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions.

Recognizing the popularity of personal communications products like smartphones and tablets, Iridium officials decided to develop a product that would let customers access the company’s satellite network while using their normal handheld devices, according to Joel Thompson, Iridium’s vice president of global product management. The result is Iridium Go!, which connects to commercial devices via Wi-Fi while providing a link to the Iridium network of 66 satellites, he said.

“Voice calls [with Iridium Go!] are really nice and clear,” Thompson said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We’re actually seeing greater voice quality with Iridium Go! and a smartphone than any other Iridium product. Part of the reason why is because you’ve got the absolute highest volume, world-class receivers and speakers within smartphones. So, all of a sudden, our voice traffic going over smartphones sounds better. That’s a huge improvement.”

Iridium Go! weighs 10 ounces, fits in a shirt pocket when the device’s antenna is down and meets IP65 specifications for resistance to dust and water, Thompson said.

“We’ve created a product that’s nearly impervious to dust and water, and that would allow our end users to leave Iridum Go! outside in the elements and allow them to make phone calls in a building, in a cabin or some other environment that they typically haven’t been able to make satellite handheld phone calls from,” he said.