Looking at the trajectory of where smartphones are going, it seems that completely waterproof, dustproof, and everything-proof phones are the next frontier. With respect to the iPhone, for example, users found that the device was surprisingly resilient even when submerged in water. And looking ahead to the iPhone 7, there are more than a few rumblings from the rumor mill which point to Apple’s next-gen smartphone being 100% waterproof.
Sprint announced on Tuesday that it will deploy its CDMA-based push-to-talk network on October 2nd. “Our customers are asking for broadband and push-to-talk,” president-Sprint Business Paget Alves said. “We’ve seen steadily increasing demand for faster data speeds, better and broader coverage, and more applications on push-to-talk devices. Sprint Direct Connect is designed to solve for all three.” The new service supports Group Connect and TeamDC for connecting with up to 20 or 200 other Direct Connect users at the same time, the ability to check if anyone is available using an “Availability Notification,” call alerts with texts and more. Sprint expects the new network to grow to the size of its current CDMA voice coverage area by the end of 2012. The Kyocera DuraMax is one of the first devices to run on the new network. It offers a rugged form factor that meets Military Standard 810G specifications and is equipped with GPS, Bluetooth, a 3.2-megapixel camera and more. The DuraMax will be available on October 2nd for $69.99 with a new two-year contract. Read on for the full CDMA PTT press release from Sprint. More →
Sprint announced the LG Marquee on Wednesday, a budget-friendly $99 Android smartphone that will be available on October 2nd, and we had a chance to get up close with it last night during a press event in New York City. The backside of the Marquee looks nearly identical to the back of the Samsung Focus on AT&T; its rear panel has nearly the same topography but has a nicer faux chrome finish. The Marquee powered through Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with ease thanks to its 1GHz processor, but the real star of the show is its 4-inch NOVA display which was noticeably brighter than the displays on most comparable phones. The handset also comes equipped with a 5-megapixel camera, a 2-megapixel camera for video chat and support for sharing its 3G connection with up to five other Wi-Fi enabled devices. Unfortunately it doesn’t support Sprint’s WiMAX network, which means it has stiff competition on Sprint’s store shelves where it is joined by the Motorola Photon 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch. Its more affordable $99 price point will certainly make it an attractive option among 3G phones, however. We also had a chance to briefly check out the Kyocera Milano, a $49.99 Android smartphone. We liked the compact design and the keyboard felt decent. The Milano was very basic and reminded us more of a feature phone than a smartphone, but it does run Android 2.3, has a 3.2-megapixel camera and a 3-inch display with a relatively low 320 x 240-pixel resolution. Be sure to check out the gallery of both phones below.
Sprint announced on Thursday that it will launch the Kyocera Milano next week for $49.99 with a new two-year contract. The Milano is a very basic Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) handset with a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It comes equipped with a 3.2-megapixel camera, 512MB of memory, a 2GB microSD card and Wi-Fi hotspot capability. It also has a 3-inch display with a relatively low 320 x 240-pixel resolution. The Milano will launch on September 9th in tandem with the Kyocera Brio, a basic feature phone that will be free with a new two-year contract. Read on for the full press release from Sprint. More →
Sprint will have a busy third quarter as it preps a number of new handsets. According to Thisismynext, the carrier will launch the Samsung Epic 2, the BlackBerry Bold 9930, and a new “full touch 4G” device from Samsung. The Epic 2 will sport a 1.2GHz processor, a 4-inch display, and an 8-megapixel camera. Given Samsung’s recent introduction of the Infuse 4G on AT&T and DROID Charge on Verizon, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Epic 2 offer the same Super AMOLED Plus display as those handsets. Sprint is expected to launch a new “full touch” Samsung “Galaxy Within” device in the quarter as well, and we’re hoping it’s the Sprint version of the Korean firm’s new ultra-high end dual-core packing Galaxy S II handset. The carrier’s also planning to introduce a global-roaming version of the BlackBerry Bold 9930, which we leaked before RIM took the wraps off of it during its annual BlackBerry World conference in March. On the same note, Sprint may introduce a new “push-to-talk BlackBerry,” but it’s unclear what the name will be. Lastly, the carrier may launch new Kyocera/Sanyo phones according to the report, although there’s no word on what those devices will offer.
Sprint’s Kyocera Echo and U.S. Cellular’s LG Genesis are currently the only dual-screen smartphones available in the U.S., but the Echo and Genesis may soon be joined by a third such device. Pocket-Lint has gotten its hands on several photos of a new dual-screen Android handset made by LG that’s possibly headed to T-Mobile in the U.K. The secondary display doesn’t look like it’s as versatile as the Echo’s — instead it appears limited to offering quick access to shortcuts — and it certainly has a unique split-keyboard design that would take some getting used to. The phone could launch as the Maxx Q or the Flip II if it ever makes a debut, but there’s no word if that’s definite. Hit the jump for a few more photos. More →
Sprint’s Kyocera Echo is a brand new concept in the mobile space. It’s innovative, and it’s bold. Using two displays that connect together to form one large touch surface, you’re able to interact with your handset in a way that’s never been possible before. You can use Twitter on the top screen while scrolling through your photos on the lower display until you pick just the right one you want to upload to TwitPic — or you can use the email app with both screens, one letting you view your inbox and the other showing you an individual message. Does having two displays make sense in the real world? More importantly, is the Kyocera Echo the right device to deliver this unique new experience? You’ll find out after the jump!More →
Sprint’s new dual-screen Kyocera Echo is now available for pre-order from RadioShack. The Echo sports two different displays for a total 4.7-inches of touchscreen real estate. The Echo’s second screen can be used to run two applications at once, as a full QWERTY keyboard, or to enhance gameplay. The Android 2.2 (Froyo) powered smartphone is also capable of creating a Wi-Fi hotspot, which allows you to share the Echo’s 3G connection with other Wi-Fi enabled devices. The Echo — which costs $199 with a new two-year Sprint contract – will ship from RadioShack on April 17th. For more info on the Echo be sure to check out our hands-on. More →
The Kyocera Echo, Sprint’s new Android 2.2 (Froyo) smartphone — with two displays stacked on top of one another, Nintendo DS style — is now available for pre-order. Interested customers can reserve the Echo for $199.99, after a $100 mail-in rebate, for delivery on April 17th. We went up close with the Echo during CTIA last week, and we enjoyed the device’s second screen — which can double as a large touchscreen keyboard, enhance game-play, and more. Sprint says “quantities are limited,” hit the jump if you’re interested in reserving yours now.
We stopped by Kyocera’s CTIA booth to get a second tour of the dual-screen Echo from Sprint. The device, which will be available on April 17th for $199.99 with a 2-year agreement, really does have some innovative features. Applications and games that are optimized for the echo can leverage the second screen to display an enormous, thumb-friendly keyboard, provide more on-screen information, and enhance game-play. Kyocera assured us that the hinge on the device is ready for battle, and should stand up to most of the use and abuse inflicted by teens and tweens — the two main groups the phone will be marketed towards. The hinge itself was a bit finicky when we handled the device, however. Hit the break for more, including a video, and don’t forget to check out our Kyocera Echo photo gallery.More →
In a press release today, Sprint announced the availability of the Kyocera Echo — a dual-screen Android smartphone the company debuted last month. Sprint will offer pre-orders of the innovative device beginning on March 16th, with general availability starting on April 17th. As a quick recap, the device has two 3.5-inch WVGA displays for a full 4.7-inches of screen viewing (on the diagonal), 5 megapixel rear-facing camera with 720p video recording, Wi-Fi b/g with hotspot capabilities, Bluetooth 2.1 +ERD, 1GB on-board storage, microSD card slot (support for 32GB cards), and Android 2.2. Sprint even took the time to namecheck BGR in the official press release. The Echo will retail for $199.99 with a signed two-year contract. Hit the jump to view the full announcement. More →
We had a chance to spend time with Sprint, Kyocera, and the Echo earlier in the day, and while there were mumblings about what to expect, we have to say we were completely shocked — literally speechless with all smiles. The Kyocera Echo is unlike any other device we have ever seen, and it’s truly innovative. Let’s first recap the specifications of the handset:
- Dual 3.5-inch LCD WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) capacitive touchscreens (4.7 inches diagonally and 800 x 960 pixels when opened)
- Android 2.2 — Froyo
- 1GHz Snapdragon QSD 8650
- 5 megapixel camera with flash
- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
- EVDO Rev. A
- 115.0 x 56.5 x 17.2mm
- 193 grams (6.8 oz.)
As for our thoughts on the phone… hit the jump and we’ll give you all the details. More →
Some of the mystery and allure surrounding Sprint’s event this evening has likely been squashed. First, it was revealed that the device set to be unveiled today is the Android-powered Kyocera Echo. Then The Wall Street Journal spoiled Sprint’s surprise even further when it reported that the Echo will feature a unique dual-display form factor. Sprint appears to have quite the show in store for us tonight, however, including a presentation from CEO Dan Hesse and an appearance by none other than illusionist David Blaine. And who knows — we could definitely be in store for a surprise or two. BGR is on-hand at the event, and we’ll be live blogging all of the action right here. So hit the break and don’t forget to refresh the page for all the latest updates as they become available. More →