Over the last few months I've done a lot of experimenting with the RockBlock Naked at work and it's a pretty cool unit that is easy to use. I have a bunch of documentation and code I need to tidy up and upload but overall I'm happy it will work with no issues. I do still think it would be worth trying out a raw Iridium 9602 transceiver but this will have to wait.
To make this unit viable and useful in real life it has to be portable so it has to be capable of running of it's own power source. I've had a nagging feeling for some time that my initial component selections are probably pretty power hungry so realistically will need to investigate lower power alternatives. For example the ESP8266 is a UART to WiFi SoC built around a Tensilica Xtensa LX3 processor. The standard breakout boards usually come with a firmware supporting a simple AT command set to configure and control the wireless module but the SoC is actually fully programmable and can be used as a micro-controller, with Wi-Fi and GPIO. Now the Arduino IDE has support for the ESP8266 and there is also a Lua based firmware available called NodeMcu. There are even tutorial detailing how to run a webserver and allow GPIO config via an interface. Could this be used to provide a user interface to the RockBlock?