PORTLAND, Ore. A combination satellite-cellular communication device emerged this week at the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association conference, where Elektrobit Corp. (Oulunsalo, Finland) demonstrated reference designs for a PDA smart phone and a proof-of-concept "connectivity module."
Elektrobit claimed its connectivity module prototype will enable laptops, automobiles, remote users with a USB port to maintain Internet connectivity regardless of location by automatically switching between cellular and satellite networks.
Elektrobit also demonstrated its new module connected to a laptop computer via a USB port to provide voice-over-IP, streaming video, Web browsing and e-mail access that can be switched between cellular and satellite connections.
OEMs are currently evaluating the reference designs, according to Jani Lyrintzis, director of wireless solutions at Elektrobit. "Applications for the connectivity module include everything from laptops to service vehicles to remote meters that can be read wirelessly," Lyrintzis said.
Earlier this year, the company said TerreStar Corp. (Reston, Va.) selected its mobile handset reference design for an integrated communications network TerreStar is designing in cooperation with AT&T. The TS-1 satellite, which will provide 2-GHz mobile satellite-phone service, is currently being built by Space Systems/Loral Inc. (Palo Alto, Calif.) The TS-1 will be launched in the second quarter of 2009.
The company also showed its combination quad-band GSM and tri-band WCDMA/HSPA-compatible PDA reference design, which requires no external antenna, along with its satellite-terrestrial mobile handset reference design. That design will be available to TerreStar subscribers for automatic switching between AT&T's cellular network and the satellite service after it is launched on the TS-1 satellite in 2009.