This is what the terminals of the Amazon competitor “Starlink” look like

There’s a big catch.

Tough competition

SpaceX’s broadband-emitting Starlink satellites could soon face stiff competition as Amazon has been working on its own satellite network called Project Kuiper.

This week, the company unveiled its redesigned terminals that allow customers to connect to the Internet from virtually anywhere in the world.

But there’s a big catch: While SpaceX has sent over 3,500 satellites into low-Earth orbit, Amazon has yet to launch a single one, meaning it will be a significant amount of time before Amazon can launch its service globally.

Scaled upgrade

At just 11 inches tall and wide, and one inch thick, Amazon’s standard “customer” terminals — as they choose to brand them — are significantly smaller compared to competitors, weighing less than 5 pounds. To put those numbers in perspective, Starlink’s smallest terminal available is almost twice the size and just over nine pounds.

According to Amazon, despite the small form factor, the customer terminal will be “one of the most powerful commercially available” for its size, offering speeds of up to 400 megabits per second. Don’t expect that to be the average speed though, especially as more customers are brought on board if user experiences with Starlink are anything.

Amazon’s terminals could also be a lot cheaper. After a price increase last year, Starlink’s kit is currently $599. Amazon claims it “expects” to produce the terminals for under $400 each. However, it remains to be seen how much this ultimately costs the customer.

big and small

Additionally, Amazon has shown off an even smaller terminal for those on the go or for those willing to sacrifice faster speeds for a cheaper connection, although the exact cost hasn’t been revealed. With a 100Mbps ceiling, this “ultra-compact” model is square and just seven inches long, meaning it’s likely to be dwarfed even by a laptop connected to it.

A large, high-bandwidth model was also introduced, measuring a whopping 19 x 30 inches. That’s bigger than Starlink’s most powerful and fastest terminal, but the upside is that you’ll get speeds of up to one gigabit per second.

It’s clear that Amazon is serious about giving Starlink a run for its money. But before Project Kuiper can lift off, it needs to get its satellites airborne.

The company expects to launch its first two prototypes later this year and has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to deploy a total of 3,236 satellites.

However, without a single satellite in orbit, expect to wait at least a year for Amazon’s service to become available.

More on commercial satellites: Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellites mess up the Hubble Space Telescope

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