Reston, Va. -
opened up sales of its Genus satellite-cellular smartphone to consumer users for the first time.
The phone, which communicates through AT&T's terrestrial network and TerreStar's satellite, is available through multiple websites operated by Simplexity, which manages other companies' online cellphone-sales sites. Consumers can get to the online sellers via TerreStar's site.
AT&T also said it has begun offering the phone to consumers, having started several months ago to offer it to the government, enterprise and small-business markets at $799 with contract.
For consumers, the Windows 6.5 device costs $1,149 with contract. The bar-style phone, equipped with touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard, is promoted as the industry's first satellite/cellular smartphone and first satellite phone with an internal antenna. The phone incorporates quadband GSM and 850/1,900MHz W-CDMA/HSDPA to connect to cellular networks. It uses 2.2GHz HSDPA to communicate via Internet Protocol to TerreStar's satellite, which provides service to the U.S. and Canada. The device needs only one phone number to be contacted via cellular or satellite network.
Phone features include 100MB of memory, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and USB.
The phone, said TerreStar, is smaller than other cellular-satellite phones, thanks to a 4.7-inch by 2.5-inch chassis that's 0.6 to 0.8 inches in depth.
For consumers, the phone provides an insurance policy, enabling them to stay in touch from desolate locations, participating in extreme sports, or enjoying a vacation in a remote area of the U.S., the company said. Customers just need a clear view of the southern sky to connect to TerreStar's satellite.
A video of the product is available on