Published in Mobiles
Finnish Electrobit first with satellite WM6 phone
Is there really any need for it?
Electrobit doesn't sell anything under its own brand, but as an OEM/ODM they come up with a lot of interesting hardware; and they're one of Intel's MID partners and was one of the first companies to show off working MID hardware. However, this time around, it seems like they've come up with a device which only the most globetrotting of business men will consider, a Windows Mobile 6.1 professional phone with satellite calling support.
The handset itself seems to have borrowed few design cues from RIM's BlackBerry devices with a front facing QWERTY keyboard and a 2.6-inch landscape-orientated touch screen with 320x240 resolution. The choice of processor is also rather unusual, as Electrobit has gone for a 300MHz ARM9 based CPU called the STN 8815 Nomadik, which to us is a first in a Windows Mobile device.
Other features include 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS, USB 2.0 PC interface, a microSD card slot (although limited to 2GB cards), 100MB of user accessible memory and a 3Megapixel camera with auto focus and flash.
However, what makes this handset stand out from every other Windows Mobile device on the market is its support for the TerreStar 2.2GHz satellite system which allows for HSDPA like speeds, as the system is based on WCDMA or 3G technology. For now, TerreStar is only expected to be covering the U.S., so the usefulness of this handset outside of the US is questionable, although it does feature support for standard 850 and 1,900MHz WCDMA 3G for the U.S. as well as quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support, so it might be good for certain business users.
You'll get three and one-half to five hours of talk time on 2G, three hours on 3G and less than an hour and a half via satellite and standby times are quoted at 200 to 240h on 2G/3G with a mere 48 to 55h in satellite mode.
Expect this handset to become available sometime next year from TerreStar or ICO in the U.S., and despite its shortcomings, it might prove to be a popular product as it's meant to only cost about 10 to 15 percent more than an equivalent 3G Windows Mobile device.
You can find the product sheet here (PDF).