I guess if I had paid $250 for a half pound brick the size of the inReach I would be somewhat defensive too, but I would at least try to get my facts straight. According to the inReach website the device, plus the 2 lithium ion batteries that they recommend, weighs 8 oz (247 g), or as I said previously, half a pound. A lot of guys on this forum use packs that weigh less than that.
The old Spot Messenger was a stand alone device that had basic functionality, similar to the inReach with no smart phone, but either you're uninformed or you chose not to mention the Spot Connect which provides the ability to send text messages using a smart phone very similar to the inReach. Now the Spot is still a simplex device, meaning it is only one way communication, so you can only send messages and not receive them. With the inReach you get 2-way communication. By the way, the Spot Connect happens to weigh 4.9 oz (139 g) with batteries. Speaking of batteries, that brings up something that I didn't mention in my original post, but the pre-production inReach was a battery hog, it would go through expensive lithium ion batteries like crap through a goose as George Patton would say. And according to the Delorme website, it doesn't look like the production units are any better. The website doesn't bother rating battery usage in days like the Spot website, instead they rate the inReach battery life at 60 hours when sending a track every 10 min. (I think that calcs out to 2.5 days). The Spot Connect on the other hand is rated at 4.5 days when sending a track every 10 min. Oh, and I hate to think what it would cost to send that track on an inReach since sending tracks aren't included in their $10/mo plan. I guess you could pay $25 or $50/mo and you could get unlimited tracking. I have used a Spot Connect and it was a much better designed device in terms of the hardware. The inReach is just plain awkward in my opinion, it literally feels like a brick. I had originally planned to take it on backpacking trips, but after seeing it I thought there would be no way I would hall that and a cell phone.
The most basic plan for the inReach costs $120/yr and you get 10 messages/mo with no tracking. There's no roll over messages. if you take a 10 day trip one month, you can't use any of those unused texts from the months when the inReach was sitting in your closet. If you want 40 msgs/mo you pay $300/yr. Spot pricing seems to be a little more flexible in that you pay $100 for the year then $30 for 100 msgs to use whenever you want. Or you can add 500 msgs for $50. Unlimited tracking is $50/yr. So it's more a la carte and much more flexible.
Now as far as Globalstar, you're flat out wrong about the costs associated with it. As I mentioned in my previous post, Globalstar currently has a promotion through the end of June that provides UNLIMITED calling and text messages for $39.95/mo on a 12 mo contract. Let me repeat, UNLIMITED phone calls and text, not "zero minutes + $1.49/min used." Here's the link to their price plan page so you can verify that:
Oh yes, and that $39.95/mo includes data access, so you can use the phone as a data modem with computers or other devices to access the internet. Now this plan only covers use in North America, so if you go elsewhere there will be roaming charges. You are correct about the weight of the Globalstar GSP 1700 sat phone, it is 200 g (7.05 oz) with rechargeable batteries (not expensive lithium ion). But with that 7.05 oz you can make phone calls and send text messages, you don't need to carry another device! Now if you want to carry an a Smartphone and use it for "GPS-topo, tunes, hi-res GPS tracker, and camera" you can still bring it and use it for all those things, but you don't need too bring it just to send a text message. By the way, I'm curious, if you are using it for all those things what kind of battery do you have? I'm not aware of any smart phone that would last more than a day using it for GPS, tunes, and camera, and if you don't have enough juice to use it, what's the point of hauling it? I guess you could haul in more batteries or solar chargers.
Now as for feeling " sorry for Globalstar for their satellite problems", I'm not sure why you would. They have gotten over the hurdle and are now making a profit, but in the mean time, they are making the satellite phone industry competitive. Iridium charges outrageous amounts for making calls and their equipment is twice as much to buy up front. Inmarsat has gone way up in their service costs as Stephen pointed out. So because of Globalstar's problems they now offer unlimited service for $39.95/mo, that's cheaper than any cell phone service! And for the type of use that we're talking about, comparing it to an inReach, who cares if you get a dropped call, how long will it take you and how much will it cost you to type in text messages on your inReach that would be equivalent to a 5 min conversation on the sat phone?
I agree with you that Globalstar's service plans will go up as their service improves. As I stated in my previous post, their service now appears to provide coverage for any given area about 70% of the time. That seems pretty good for $39.95/mo. They are also launching and activating more satellites this year and their coverage will only improve and should be better than 80% later this year. So at any rate, back to my original contention, why buy a half pound inReach and pay $10/mo to barely be able to use it, or $25/mo to be able to use it for 40 text messages, or $50/mo for 120 text messages, when you can get a sat phone for $39.95/mo with unlimited calling and text? That was the point I was trying to make.