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Preview: MOTOKRZR K1m

Article Comments  76  

Aug 30, 2006, 11:58 AM   by Eric Lin

An exclusive hands-on preview of Motorola's sleek new MOTOKRZR K1m slim clamshell phone for Sprint.


Recently former Sprint COO Len Lauer confirmed that Sprint will soon be selling highly coveted Motorola handsets such as the Q and "members of the RAZR family." Those RAZR-derived phones aren't the same old RAZR V3 that have shown up everywhere else. They will be new models, including the KRZR K1m, and most likely the SLVR L7c.

We can now bring you a first glimpse of the K1m for Sprint. While the specs and hardware of the K1m remain unchanged since our coverage from the Moto launch last month, the Sprint software is completely different than what we saw before.


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Although Sprint doesn't force manufacturers to run the exact same software on all their phones as Verizon does, Sprint does require all of its hardware partners to install certain applications and meet certain criteria. Every aspect of the K1m - from the home screen to the deepest settings menu - has been customized to meet Sprint's requirements.


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The new home screen offers customizable D-pad shortcuts that have been the hallmark of both Sprint and Motorola phones for some time. Sprint has never allowed customization of the soft key shortcuts, and that trend continues here. What is new is that the two soft key shortcuts are now Contacts and Music instead of Favorites and Contacts. The Music key goes to the Sprint Music Store player (and not the Media Player which allows you to play music manually copied to the microSD card).


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The main menu is not Motorola's traditional 3x3 menu. Instead it is Sprint's 3x4 layout with new cartoonish icons that have a style similar to those seen in previews of Windows Vista. The menu can be displayed in a traditional grid or list view, as well as a new tabs view that allows you to cycle through all the choices by moving left or right on the D-pad.

The actual choices in the main menu remain nearly unchanged at the top level. Not only are all but one of the items the same, but they remain in the same location as well. The only difference is in the center column. The Missed Alerts application has been completely removed, and alerts are now indicated by the more traditional alert icons and messages on the home screen. Instead the Call Log has been moved down to the default position in the center and a Bluetooth shortcut has been added at the top.


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Some of the applications look completely new, both for Motorola and for Sprint as well. Those that aren't new have at least undergone a facelift. Options and Settings menus are now laid out better, and it's not exaggerating to say they're some of the clearest we've seen on any phone to date.

Menus have been simplified to 3 types, each of which are clearly implemented. There's a simple drop-down menu, a menu that need more explanation (usually a drop-down or thumbnail chooser), and a cascading menu. They are each organized fairly well in each application. The build we received was incomplete, and certain applications such as the Bluetooth menu are still using Motorola's old style, but this too will be updated before the phone launches.


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.


The Contact manager has undergone a complete redesign. It is now similar to that of Sony Ericsson, using tabs to separate data types. The first tab has space for a name and up to 5 phone numbers. The second tab allows you to customize a photo and ringtone for Caller ID and the final tab has space for an email address, web address, contact group and even a custom memo. All of the applications now allow you to enter text directly in a field without having to press select first, which is a nice improvement.


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

Messaging is different than any Sprint phone we've seen. The entire message addressing and composition process takes place on one screen, similar to the Verizon messaging interface. Like other Motorola phones, the K1m uses iTAP predictive text, but the Sprint version looks and acts more like T9 than the version on GSM handsets.

The camera and pictures applications are new too. Even though there is a new camera application in the GSM RIZR and KRZR, this is yet another new version. And this is the one application that we're not sure is an improvement over the new Motorola default. The K1m features a full screen viewfinder, which like many other clamshell phones uses a vertical screen to frame a horizontal picture. Thus you will not be able to see your full picture until the review screen. (Unfortunately the camera was not working on our prototype, so we cannot show you this as well as we'd like.)


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The camera options are shown in a cascading menu instead of the transparent overlay of the new GSM models. We'd prefer the overlay since it gives you a live preview of every option. The only options with a live preview on the K1m are digital zoom (up to 4x) and brightness. For all other options you must choose one and then check that it does what you wanted.

Once a picture is snapped it is automatically saved. You can choose to save pictures to a mysterious place called "in camera" or to the memory card. While saving the picture you just took, the review screen gives you the option to delete or send it.


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

When viewing pictures, you have the option to see pictures from the memory card, the camera, or ones that have been saved to the phone. As with other Sprint phones, you cannot simply go to the gallery application and see all your pictures if they are stored in different places. The gallery does not have an option to zoom in on a photo, nor does it include any new options when compared to previous Sprint handsets. Sending a photo via Bluetooth is still not permitted.

Videos are limited to 30 seconds in length and can be shot using the digital zoom, though you cannot zoom while recording.


Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The rest of the applications we were able to preview are similar to those in current Motorola phones, only they've been given a facelift to match everything else on the phone.

Overall, the changes to the software seem like an improvement over current offerings from both Sprint and Motorola. In fact, we wish some of these changes were available on GSM KRZRs. However, Motorola would prefer to release their new Linux-Java software on GSM handsets, and that too is highly improved over the old Moto software we see on RAZRs and their ilk.

Our only software complaint with Sprint's K1m is that you still need two separate applications to play music depending on whether you used Sprint's software or just a PC and card reader to load music on your phone.

Although we were not able to evaluate the K1m on reception, battery life and other performance issues, if those match Motorola’s other recent models, this should prove to be a solid phone for Sprint this holiday season.

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Subject Author Date
I feel cheated! cingular guy 0180 Sep 2, 2006, 1:36 PM
PRICE? SPRINT31907 Sep 3, 2006, 12:45 PM
  • Re: PRICE? by Fruzed   Oct 3, 2006, 7:41 PM
    • Re: PRICE? by guitarprincez86   Oct 30, 2006, 4:03 PM
What about Bluetooth Object Push? wnrussell Aug 30, 2006, 10:00 PM
Sprint announces release puck55 Oct 4, 2006, 10:50 AM
Telenav? Please??? legacynrs4evr Aug 30, 2006, 10:41 PM
is this phone worth waiting for? muhl0321 Aug 30, 2006, 6:37 PM
Playing Music From Your Own Collection--Music Store app nikg Sep 1, 2006, 6:07 PM
Will this phone be coming out with a Nextel Two-way button? aham530 Sep 8, 2006, 1:33 PM
T9 instead of iTAP...bad move Sam K Aug 30, 2006, 2:42 PM
LOL... motoBOY Aug 31, 2006, 4:44 PM
  • Re: LOL... by tuolumne   Aug 31, 2006, 9:13 PM
    • Re: LOL... by motoBOY   Sep 3, 2006, 2:09 PM
      • Re: LOL... by zone9   Sep 4, 2006, 9:23 PM
        • Re: LOL... by motoBOY   Sep 5, 2006, 11:14 AM
            (more replies...)
Release Etix Aug 30, 2006, 12:42 PM
  • Re: Release by Etix   Aug 30, 2006, 12:45 PM
  • Re: Release by erichasfaith   Aug 30, 2006, 1:35 PM
  • November 06 by legacynrs4evr   Aug 30, 2006, 10:56 PM
    • verizon by razr-is-the-sck   Aug 31, 2006, 9:40 AM
      • Re: verizon by Carterism   Aug 31, 2006, 4:27 PM
        • Re: verizon by legacynrs4evr   Aug 31, 2006, 9:03 PM
            (more replies...)
how come?? verizon joaoeduardo Aug 30, 2006, 12:30 PM
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