Iridium launches Wi-Fi hotspot for extreme roaming

NEW YORK (AP) ? Want to get email on your iPhone or BlackBerry in the middle of the ocean, or in the Arctic? Now you can ? but it’ll cost you.

Satellite phone network Iridium is launching a box, about the size of a cigarette pack, that connects to an Iridium phone. The box produces a Wi-Fi hotspot that smartphones and tablet computers can connect to. The phone relays that connection to satellites overhead.

Iridium says the data speeds will be slower than dial-up, but they should be good enough for meaningful use of email.

Iridium Communications Inc. says the AxcessPoint will cost less than $200, but it needs to be paired with a phone that costs about $1,000. The data connection will cost about $1 per minute.