Preview: MOTOKRZR K1m
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.
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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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
I feel cheated!
Just so you know, I registered with Phone Scoop for no other purpose other than to respond to your comment. So, here goes...
BOO FRICKING HOO!!! I love Sprint...very loyal. But they've been riding the plastic Power-Ranger-looking ...
What about Bluetooth Object Push?
but you CAN NOT send pictures with the sprint version according to the last release and rumors...
Sprint announces release
MOTOKRZR; the popular MOTORAZR; and the candy-bar style handset, MOTOSLVR.
Harnessing the speed of Sprint's Power Vision(SM) EVDO network, Sprint's
MOTOKRZR, MOTORAZR and MOTOSLVR will enable customers to access the latest
news, music and entertainment content at broadband-like speeds."
Also: "Sprint's MOTOKRZR, MOTORAZR and MOTOSLVR are expected to be available by early
November. Customers can register at www.Sprint.com/MOTOKRZR to be contacted
about purchasing MOTOKRZR as soon as it becomes available."
is this phone worth waiting for?
i assume this new on demand tv service is going to be phone dependent and not something that could be download on other evdo powervision phones.
the k1m looks amazing and the size feature is wild too.
but if this TV service is gonna be as serious as it sounds, would you ignore the k1m and wait for the m250???
When Sprint does eventually launch mobile live TV to the public, it may use their new Wi...
Playing Music From Your Own Collection--Music Store app
Will this phone be coming out with a Nextel Two-way button?
Cause that would be a brilliant move, but if they didn't then i'm not getting it.
T9 instead of iTAP...bad move
To bad they are completely devoid of any sort of logical reasoning.
Nokia is the worlds largest manufacture by a long shot, and Motorola is not going to be close for some years. LG...
how come?? verizon