Those SkyMates use the Orbcomm constellation, which is a company I used to work
for. Those birds are essentially big repeaters sitting in the sky. You send a message to one, and then it relays that message around to other birds, eventually contacting a ground earth station (Virginia, I think).
That's why you can't do anything "live" with Orbcomm; it doesn't hold open connections. Totally asyncronous. Most people in the satelite community don't even consider it a "real" network because it doesn't distribute tasks at all; it's just a series of repeaters and routers.
As far as me personally, I'm cool with no email
for long periods. I work
in the software
industry, so I eat sleep and breathe technology. That being said, having email on the boat is a pain in the butt and requires a lot of money
that could be used by other stuff.
If I need to work remotely, I'll find a marina that has DSL and camp out there for a few months while working on a project
There's very little business value I could get out of even the best satelite systems. They're extremely expensive, and to really do business you need a good connection, and a good phone number too.
I suppose you can use it for personal use, but I don't need to drop two grand so I can update my blog a week earlier than when I pull into port.