Satellite communications company Thuraya unveiled what it described as “the world’s first satellite smartphone”, offering connectivity in remote areas normally beyond the reach of such devices.

Thuraya’s Android-powered X5-Touch targets users who “frequently move in and out of terrestrial coverage”, citing markets such as government missions, energy projects, enterprise communications and NGO deployments.

The device features a 5.2-inch full HD touchscreen, and “dual-mode and dual-sim” capabilities, with the ability to have both satellite and terrestrial (2G/3G/4G) modes active at the same time.

It sports a Gorilla glass display and is said to be the “most rugged phone in the mobile satellite services” industry, with an IP67 rating for dust and water protection. It also includes an SOS button, front and rear cameras, Wi-Fi Bluetooth, NFC and GPS/Glonass/BeiDou.

“With the Android platform there is already a multitude of apps readily available to work on the Thuraya X5-Touch, and developers will have easy access to develop and customise apps for the needs of their customers. It complements the Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) concept, customers have the flexibility to download any app of their choice, thereby breaking the paradigm and revolutionising the way the satellite handset will be used,” Ahmed Al Shamsi, acting CEO of Thuraya, said.

Thuraya has not revealed who is manufacturing the device.