Cell coverage is lacking in a great many places even today. But if you're ready to pony up some cash, TerreStar is now willing to solve that problem by selling you the TerreStar Genius dual satellite/GSM cell phone, Engadget is reporting. This handset has a blackberry style portrait qwerty keyboard and clocks in at $1,149.99 direct to consumers. TerreStar is selling the devices to businesses for $800 a pop.
The Genius is a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone that supports AT&T's 3G bands for standard cell service, but it able to connect to satellites to place calls anyplace in North America. The phone's specs are about as old as the operating system it's running, so don't expect a snappy experience. Also of concern is that TerreStar is undergoing bankruptcy reorganization currently.
This is obviously not a phone for everyone, but a few travelers might find a use for it. As for the rest of us, it's really just a curiosity to stare at in bemused astonishment.
It took quite a while for Microsoft to be fully convinced that its mobile OS is long due for an overhaul. Last month, although it did not quite deliver an overhaul, it took a small step toward bringing its mobile offering up to speed with the competition. It launched the Windows Marketplace for Mobile app store on October 6th, the very day it released Windows Mobile 6.5.
But the enhancement that should interest WinMo users the most is the ability to “browse and buy applications from the PC.” All applications bought from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile site will be delivered wirelessly to the user’s Windows phone. Microsoft will make the store accessible to Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 customers later this month.
Though nobody expected Windows Mobile 6.5 to break any ground, it even failed to fulfill whatever few expectations people may have had. It is hard to imagine Windows Mobile 6.5 spurring handset shipments. However, HTC CEO Peter Chou claims there is strong demand for the company’s Windows Mobile 6.5-based HTC HD2 smartphone.
Bing for Mobile has received a nifty little upgrade from Microsoft. The Bing for Mobile site has been touch-optimized, so it now takes advantage of the touch-screen functionality of many smartphones. The upgrade builds on Windows Mobile 6.5, which makes touch-screen ability part of this smartphone operating system.
Right now it appears that Bing for Mobile, which can be accessed at m.bing.com, will work on a limited number of devices. Justin Jed at the bing community blog reports touch-screen ability is available on the iPhone, T-Mobile G1, VErizon Imagio, Samsung Omnia and the Apple iPhone. It also works with the Zune HD and the iPod Touch. Jed is promising support for new devices “over the next couple months.”
Loyd Case joins us again on this week's No BS podcast to talk about unboxing the Windows 7 party pack. We also discuss Nvidia's official statement on their chipset business and legal battle with Intel, Microsoft's release of Windows Mobile 6.5, and share more Google Wave impressions. Norm's Windows Home Server gets a spotlight, and as always, we answer a few listener questions.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Microsoft had originally planned to release Windows Mobile 7 in 2009. But it then pushed the release to 2010. The cutthroat nature of the smartphone market offers very little leeway for such delays. Besides, WinMo 7 is supposed to be a product that will bring Windows phones up to speed with other contemporary smartphones.
The delay left Microsoft with no choice but to plug Windows 6.5, an interim release, in a manner only accorded to a major release. It is clearly a gambit to prevent WinMo loyalists from abandoning the terribly long road to WinMo 7.
Microsoft had announced last week that Sprint, AT&T and Verizon have all committed themselves to the October 6 launch of Windows Mobile 6.5, now Digitimes’ trusted unnamed sources – the finest in Taiwan - have revealed that Microsoft has secured the backing of many other telecom carriers around the world, including NTT DoCoMO, T-Mobile, Orange, Softbank Mobile, SKT, Telstra and Telus.
Microsoft is approaching the October 6 launch of its Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system with renewed vigor, even though it is only the first, more humble course of a two-course meal, of which Windows Mobile 7 is the concluding course. With Windows Mobile 6.5, it hopes to change the current perception of WinMo phones and replace it with a nattier, bonnier picture.
Microsoft’s share of the mobile OS market has plummeted sharply in the last few years. It needs to quickly mount a counter-offensive against its more dapper rivals in the smartphone market, if it is to prevent itself from being marginalized even further. According to Taiwanese rumor mill Digitimes, Microsoft does have a strategy to counter its rivals in the smartphone market.
As Engadget puts it, the Windows Mobile news coming out of this week's CTIA Wireless 2009 trade show can be summed up in two words: "pretty" and "support" (for the upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system).
Want a phone where "pretty" is more than case-deep? Designer Isaac Mizrahi, Design Museum London, and the Council of Fashion Designers are teaming up with Redmond to create fashionable wallpapers for the 6.5 version of Windows Mobile. On the support side, Microsoft announced support from over 25 companies for its Windows Mobile Marketplace (Word 2003 DOC link).
For more about what Redmond put on display, join us after the jump.