When you're already tracking every kid out there to make sure no one gets into too much mischief, you definitely need a way to make a call whilst in "mountainous areas or at sea," right? Apparently the Japanese government thinks so, as it's planning on bringing satellite calling to the masses by launching a bird that's 50-meters in diameter in order to enable "ordinary handsets" (you know, the ones without the mile-long antennas) to make satellite calls in times of emergency with just slight modifications. The aforementioned sat would be over twice the size of the 19-meter Kiku No. 8, which currently holds the crown for the largest launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, meaning that the newfangled equipment would fit nicely within the confines of today's increasingly shrinking cellphone and still find signal. Interestingly, the ministry isn't looking to get the service going before 2015, so we just might be looking at mainstream antenna-less iterations by that time anyway.
[Via DigitalWorldTokyo, photo courtesy of SatellitePhones]