Gadgets for humans

Spark’s Electron board can now power cellular-connected devices in over 100 countries

Outdoor Soil Monitor

We wrote last month about the Spark Electron, the startup’s first cellular-connected development board. Now, just in the time for the end of its Kickstarter campaign, the company has announced international deals to make its bundled SIM card work in over 100 countries.

The move means individual makers and companies in Latin America, Australia, most of Asia and a large part of Africa will now be able to use the Electron as the basis for new connected devices.

Global Coverage

Spark CEO Zach Supalla tells TNW that he sees huge potential for the Electron beyond the western world:

“One example use case is to measure the quality and moisture of soil with distributed sensor networks and use that information to better farm the land. You can easily imagine a young entrepreneur in Africa or India picking up an Electron, using it to build a few prototypes, selling them to his neighbours, and creating a business from there.”

The company’s working with Telefonica to support global mobile networking. In North America, most of Europe, South America, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Russia and parts of the Middle East, a monthly 1MB data plan – the equivalent of 20,000 messages per month – will cost $2.99 with each additional MB priced at $0.99.

Elsewhere in the world, the pricing ranges from the same $2.99 monthly fee with a higher $1.99 cost for additional MB of data, to $4.99 per month with $3.99 per extra MB in Singapore and Taiwan.

You can see an exhaustive list of individual country pricing here. All of Spark’s data deals are contract-free.

Track Your Bike

The Electron campaign has far exceeded its original $30,000 – a target that was deliberately modest – and will start shipping the new hardware in October.

Supalla predicts you’ll start to see a lot new Kickstarter campaigns with the cellular-connected board at their heart popping up once that happens.

One of the campaign’s stretch goals was adding two free months of the basic data plan for every Electron purchased if it hit $400,000. It’s now well past that point and headed for the next at $600,000, which will see backers get three free months with each purchase.

It’s worth highlighting that while the Electron is available as both a $39 2G model and a $59 3G model, the company’s pushing the latter as some international networks are going to start phasing out the older data standard over the next year.

Spark’s latest product definitely has massive potential and it’ll be really interesting to see how international data provision fosters new Internet of Things (IoT) projects globally.

Factor in the Konekt Dash – another board that supports cellular connectivity in over 100 countries – which launched last week, and it’s about to get a lot easier to bring the IoT to anywhere in the world.

Spark Electron [Kickstarter]

Image credits: Spark

Read nextSpark’s Electron brings simple cellular connections to the Internet of Things

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on Twitter and Flipboard.

Published March 31, 2015 — 18:50 UTC