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Iridium-Capable iPhone Not Entirely Laughable

In our April Fools issue this year, I wrote about how Apple would be buying Iridium Satellite with an eye toward making the second-generation iPhone into a combined terrestrial/satellite phone (see “iPhone Goes International with Iridium,” 2008-04-01). Little did I know that only three days later, the EE Times would report that a Finnish company called Elektrobit has rolled out the first reference design for a phone that combines terrestrial and satellite communications capabilities using the TerreStar networks. According to Gizmag, the handset is the only fully IP-based satellite phone using high-speed packet data; includes a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard; and has integrated Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, and GPS connectivity. Alas, it runs Windows Mobile, but on the plus side it doesn’t have that massive antenna that Jeff photoshopped on to our hypothetical iPhone.


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