updated 11:05 am EDT, Tue September 21, 2010
TerreStar Genus ships with satellite and GSM
After almost a year's delay, AT&T today began selling the TerreStar Genus. The Windows Mobile 6.5.3 phone is the first of any OS to include both a satellite phone and a traditional cellphone in one device. It can switch to satellite for a connection in very remote areas where even GSM isn't an option. Using satellite access carries a monthly premium, but the service uses only one phone number and serves as a boost to roaming coverage in the US.
The Genus hasn't had its full specs revealed but includes a 2.6-inch touchscreen, a camera, Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi. When on a land-based network, it can still connect to 3G for data.
AT&T prices the Genus at $800 off-contract and is already taking orders from business and government users whose employers pay the bill. It requires a smartphone plan, while satellite use is paid by the minute, message or megabyte.