AT&T today announced the pending availability of the Kyocera DuraForce, a ruggedized Android smartphone. Like many of Kyocera's rugged devices, the DuraForce is mil-spec 810G and IP-68 certified. This means it is protected from drops, shock, temperature, dust, and vibration, and it can sit in up to six feet of water for up to 30 minutes. It also uses Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver, which makes it easier to hear in noisy environments. The phone features a 4.5-inch 720p HD screen, 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 3,100mAh battery, and 16GB of internal storage. The DuraForce runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and supports AT&T's LTE network and its Enhanced Push-to-Talk (EPTT) service. The no-commitment price of the Kyocera DuraForce is $390. AT&T is offering the DuraForce for $50 with a two-year contract, $19.95 per month with AT&T Next 12, or $16.63 per month with AT&T Next 18. It will be available online November 7 and in stores November 21.
Madstar Mobile today announced itself as "the newest national wireless carrier." The MVNO resells access to Sprint's 3G/4G networks and claims to offer the benefits of postpaid and prepaid services at the same time. It bills for service on a postpaid basis, but it doesn't require credit checks, deposits, or contracts. Madstar says customers can cancel their service at any time with no fear of ETFs. The company offers a range of feature phones, smartphones, and access points. Customers can choose to pay full price for their phones or finance them with monthly payments. For example, the HTC One (M8) is available for $665 or as low as $29 per month on an installment plan. Other handsets in Madstar's roster include the Apple iPhone 5, Google Nexus 5, Kyocera Kona, and the Samsung Galaxy S5. Alternately, customers can bring their own compatible device and port their existing wireless number if they wish. The least expensive service plan costs $22 per month and includes 250 voice minutes, 250 messages, and pay-as-you-go data. Plan pricing jumps by $11 increments, with the most expensive option topping out at $88 per month. It includes unlimited voice minutes, messaging, HD Voice, and 2GB of data "Our goal is to provide subscribers with a cost effective, convenient and reliable wireless service using the device of their choice,” said David Pearsall, Madstar Mobile's founder & CEO. "Wireless devices and service have become a necessity, not a luxury and should be affordable to everyone without the need to prepay now for the right to service later." The company is based in New Milford, Conn.
Sprint and Kyocera today announced the Torque XT, a minor update to the original Torque. The two updates include compatibility with Sprint's Direct Connect walkie-talkie service, and the improvement on onboard storage to 20GB. Otherwise, all the features are the same as the original Torque. The XT has a mil-spec rating of 810G for protection against shock, temperature extremes, solar radiation, and vibration. It has an IP rating of 67, which means it can sit in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, as well as spend the day in the sand on the beach. The device includes standard Kyocera features, such as the Sonic Smart Receiver for phone calls, and MaxiMZR and Eco Mode for managing battery life. The Torque XT has a 4-inch WVGA screen, 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel main camera, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. The phone includes WiFi, GPS, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.0, and runs on Sprint's LTE network. The device is based on Android 4.4.2 KitKat and includes an array of business-friendly features, such as support for VPNs, mobile device management suites, and Exchange ActiveSync. The Kyocera Torque XT is available today via most Sprint sales channels. Sprint is asking for $0 down followed by 24 payments of $15 with Sprint Easy Pay.
Sprint today said a software update will add Wi-Fi Calling to the Kyocera Hydro Vibe. The update is rolling out now and should reach all Vibes in the coming weeks. Wi-Fi Calling lets customers make calls and send messages over Wi-Fi networks for free.
Verizon Wireless is offering a handful of its handsets the ability to include push-to-talk, walkie-talkie features. The service, called Push To Talk Plus, is available to smartphones including the Motorola Droid Maxx, Samsung Galaxy S5, and Casio G'zOne Commando beginning today. Other phones, such as the Kyocera Brigadier, will gain the feature down the road. According to Verizon, the service is powered by Kodiak Networks and offers fast call setup times, improved voice quality, and encrypted calls. Users will be able to join existing PTT calls, as well as rejoin calls they left. The service is being offered to business customers, who need to reach out to their sales representatives to initiate service. Push To Talk Plus costs $5 per month per line, though Verizon is offering six months for free to those who sign up soon.
T-Mobile and MetroPCS today announced the Kyocera Hydro Life, a new semi-rugged and waterproof Android smartphone. Like many of Kyocera's handsets, the Hydro Life is for customers who need a robust phone that can survive the trials and tribulations of an active lifestyle. It is certified to mil-spec 810G for protection against drops and shock, and IP57 for protection against dust and water damage (submersion in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes). The phone has an impact-resistant 4.5-inch qHD display that Kyocera says has a non-slip finish. The Hydro Life is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. The phone includes a 5-megapixel main camera and a 2-megapixel selfie camera. The Hydro Life packs Kyocera's Smart Sonic receiver for improved phone call audio, as well as Kyocera's EcoMode and MaxiMZR tools for managing the 2,000mAh battery. The phone supports Wi-Fi and T-Mobile's Wi-Fi calling service, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, and T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. The Kyocera Hydro Life runs Android 4.3. It will be available to T-Mobile customers at Walmart stores beginning August 8 for $125. It will reach MetroPCS stores on August 29.
Verizon Wireless today added the Kyocera Brigadier to its lineup. The Brigadier has the distinction of being one of the first phones to ship in the U.S. with a Sapphire display. Sapphire is more resistant than glass to breakage and scratching. The 4.5-inch HD display works with gloves, and offers wet finger tracking so it can be used when wet. The Brigadier is a rugged smartphone that can survive drops, vibration, and exposure to water and dust. It can sit in up to 6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. The device is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The Brigadier features an 8-megapixel main camera and a 2-megapixel user-facing camera. Other specs include Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC and Isis for mobile payments, Qi wireless charging, EcoMode, and a 3,100mAh battery. The Kyocera Brigadier runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It costs $100 with a two-year contract or $20 per month with Verizon Edge. It is available starting today.
Kyocera's popular Hydro series of water-resistant phones recently gained a new sibling with the Hydro Icon, which is pretty much a Hydro Vibe that's shock-resistant, so it can survive clumsy hands. Since the body differs a bit from the Vibe, we wanted to share our hands-on impressions.
Virgin Mobile USA today announced a limited-time offer that drops the price of its entry-level smartphone plan to $25 per month. The Unlimited Talk and Text plan is available to select Android smartphones, including the LG Volt, LG Optimus F3, Kyocera Hydro Vibe, and several others. The plan provides unlimited domestic voice minutes and domestic messaging, but no data. Virgin says the devices all include Wi-Fi and can access data through hotspots. The idea is to give customers many of the benefits smartphones offer without the associated monthly cost. The plan is available to new customers only through September 2. Virgin is also offering a $5 Daily Mobile Hotspot plan that allows select handsets to act as mobile hotspots for up to five devices. The plan provides 250MB of data access and is compatible with the HTC Desire and EVO V 4G, iPhone 4s/5/5s, Kyocera Hydro Vibe, LG Volt, and Samsung Galaxy S5. Customers need to subscribe to Virgin's Beyond Talk monthly plan in order to use the $5 Daily Mobile Hotspot feature.
Boost Mobile today announced the pending availability of the Kyocera Hydro Icon. The device is the latest in Kyocera's line of water-resistant Android smartphones, but goes one step further by meeting mil-spec 801G for protection against drops and vibration. Kyocera calls devices such as the Icon "everyday durable." It features a 4.5-inch qHD screen, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 2-megapixel user-facing camera, and 8GB of built-in storage with support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The device houses a 2,000mAh battery paired with Kyocera's Eco-Mode and MaxiMZR power management tools, and it supports wireless charging. Other features include Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver technology and support for LTE 4G. The Kyocera Hydro Icon will cost $150 when it goes on sale in Boost Stores June 17. Boost Mobile does not require contracts.
Virgin Mobile USA's low-cost arm, payLo, today added the Kyocera Contact (sold as the Verve by Sprint) to its prepaid roster. The device costs $40 online and can be used with payLo's $40 monthly plans. The Contact is a simple messaging phone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
Sprint and Virgin Mobile USA today announced the pending availability of the Hydro Vibe, a new water-resistant Android smartphone from Kyocera. The phone can withstand a 30-minute bath in waters up to 1 meter deep and has a break-resistant 4.5-inch qHD screen. The device is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The Vibe includes an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash and HDR/panorama shooting mode, and has a 2-megapixel user-facing camera. The Vibe offers some Kyocera-specific features, including its Smart Sonic Receiver audio technology and Eco-Mode and MaxiMZR power-management apps. The Hydro Vibe also offers NFC, wireless charging, 8GB of internal storage, and support for memory cards up to 32GB. The Kydro Vibe is compatible with Sprint Spark in markets where available. Sprint will begin selling the Kyocera Hydro Vibe May 9 for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $9.59. Virgin Mobile USA will begin selling the Vibe May 27 for $150.
Boost Mobile recently added the Kyocera DuraShock to its lineup of ruggedized, prepaid phones. The DuraShock is a rebranded DuraCore, which was previously sold by Sprint. The DuraShock is a simple feature phone that offers mil-spec protection from drops, vibration, and dust, but it isn't waterproof and doesn't have a camera. It is a 3G phone that includes basic messaging and browsing apps, but no advanced features. Boost is selling the device for $60 without a contract.
The CTIA Wireless Association today said a number of handset makers and wireless network operators have agreed to a basic framework that will eventually provide consumers with better anti-theft tools for their smartphones. The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is meant to deter theft while also giving phone makers and carriers room to innovate. All the companies agreed to implement a baseline anti-theft tool preloaded on (or downloadable to) all wireless smartphones manufactured after July 2015. This tool will let consumers: remotely wipe their data; render the smartphone inoperable to unauthorized users; prevent reactivation without owner's consent; and reverse the inoperability of the device as well as restore the data to the device in the event it is found by the owner. Consumers will also be free to use whatever third-party anti-theft tools they wish in addition to those provided by the phone maker. All signatories will make the baseline anti-theft tool available with all its core features. The initial batch of companies signing the commitment include: Apple; Asurion; AT&T; Google; HTC America; Huawei; Motorola; Microsoft; Nokia; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless. Some of those who haven't signed include Kyocera, LG, Sony, ZTE. A number of lawmakers lauded the commitment, which arrives several months after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler mandated that wireless companies come up with such a solution or face regulatory intervention.
Kyocera announced the Verve today, which will be sold by both Sprint and Boost Mobile. The Verve is a feature phone that has a traditional number pad on the front and slides sideways to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard underneath. Some of the hardware features include a 2.4-inch display, 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1, speakerphone, and a stereo headset jack. The feature phone operating system is ideal for heavy texters, according to Sprint. The phone is limited to CDMA 1X-Advanced and does not support LTE. Sprint is offering the Kyocera Verve for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $5.42. Sprint's Framily plans start at $55 per month for the Verve. The Sprint model can be ordered online and via telesales beginning April 11. Boost Mobile will sell the Verve for $50 and offers no-contract plans starting at $50 per month. It will reach Boost stores May 6. Sprint said that the Verve will also be sold by Virgin Mobile's payLo brand, beginning May 13, as the Kyocera Contact. It will cost $40 from payLo.
Sprint today expanded the number of handsets that are able to take advantage of its Direct Connect push-to-talk service. Sprint offers the service through a dedicated application called Direct Connect Now. Beginning today, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3, the LG G2, G Flex, and Optimus F3, and the Kyocera Hydro Edge can all download the Direct Connect Now app from the Google Play Store and use it for PTT calls. Sprint plans to add more devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Mega, and GS4 with Sprint Spark, soon. Sprint says its Direct Connect Now app has been updated with a new user interface, and it is now interoperable with older Sprint Direct Connect phones. The app also has TeamDC and opt-in TeamDC closed group calling; call alerts to notify others you want to talk; displays contact image for speaker; syncs contacts with device address book; and lets users create favorite Direct Connect contacts. The app and service are free to download for most LTE 4G phones, though Sprint charges $5 per month for some handsets.
Cricket Wireless today announced the Hydro Plus. The Hydro Plus is the latest waterproof Android smartphone from Kyocera that can withstand up to 30 minutes in one meter of water, in addition to blowing rain and dust. It features a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 display and comes with a 1.0-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 512MB of memory, 2GB of internal storage, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The Hydro Plus includes a 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash, Stereo Bluetooth (2.1+EDR), Wi-Fi, and GPS. Other features include a three-axis accelerometer, a number of sensors, and Kyocera's "Eco Mode" for power management. The Kyocera Hydro Plus is compatible with Cricket's Muve Music plan, which starts at $50 per month. The Hydro Plus costs $139.99, and does not require a new contract. It will be available in the coming days.
T-Mobile today said that it will begin selling the Kyocera Hydro XTRM through its business-to-business channel on November 20. The XTRM is a rugged, waterproof Android smartphone. It has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver technology, a 4.0-inch 800 x 480 impact-resistant touchscreen, and a 5.0-megapixel camera with LED flash. According to Kyocera, the Hydro XTRM is the first device it will sell with T-Mobile. Pricing for the phone was not disclosed.
MetroPCS today announced the immediate availability of the Kyocera Hydro XTRM. The XTRM is a rugged, waterproof Android smartphone. It has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver technology, a 4.0-inch 800 x 480 impact-resistant touchscreen, and a 5.0-megapixel camera with LED flash. The device also supports LTE 4G. MetroPCS is selling the Hydro XTRM for $169. MetroPCS does not require contracts.
Verizon Wireless today announced the Kyocera Hydro Elite, a waterproof Android phone. The Elite is the highest-end model of Kyocera's growing Hydro series, sporting a 4.3-inch 720p HD display, 8-megapixel camera, front camera, NFC, Qi wireless charging, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, DLNA, global roaming, and a memory card slot. Verizon hasn't carried a Kyocera phone since 2007. The relatively new Hydro series has been a major success for Kyocera. Sprint, Boost, Cricket, and U.S. Cellular all carry at least one Hydro. The Elite is rated for immersion in up to 3.28 feet of water for up to 30 minutes (IPX7), plus blowing rain (IPX5). The Elite is a 4G LTE phone and also includes Kyocera's exclusive Smart Sonic Receiver technology for better sound in noisy environments. It has 16 GB of embedded memory and 1.5 GB of RAM. It runs Android 4.1 plus Kyocera software for an easy Starter mode, and an Eco mode for saving battery. The Hydro Elite will be available from Verizon this Thursday, August 29th, for $150 with contract. A $50 mail-in rebate brings the cost down to $100.
Sprint today announced the availability of the Kyocera Kona, an inexpensive flip phone. The Kona includes a 2.4-inch QVGA internal display, a 1.44-inch external display, a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and a standard stereo headphone jack. The Kona includes a large dialpad for placing calls and large fonts for easier viewing. The Kyocera Kona is available online and in Sprint stores today for $0 with a new contract. The Kona is already available from Cricket Wireless and is sold by Boost Mobile as the Coast.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site provide a few details about the Kyocera C6750, a monoblock device that supports the spectrum bands used by Verizon Wireless. According to the FCC, the C6750 is a world phone, too, as it supports GSM/WCDMA 850/1900 in addition to Verizon's CDMA and LTE frequencies. The FCC also confirms the presence of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Photos of the device show a slab-style smartphone that includes a camera with flash and a microUSB port. The draft user manual suggests that the C6750 is water resistant, a feature that Kyocera has added to a handful of its smartphones this year under the "Hydro" brand. Some of the internal photos clearly show gaskets, which would help prevent water intrusion. The FCC did not confirm what operating system the C6750 runs, but referred to it s a "PDA phone." Neither Verizon nor Kyocera have announced the C6750.
Sprint today announced that it and its Boost Mobile prepaid brand will offer the Kyocera Hydro Edge in the coming weeks. The Hydro Edge will reach Sprint stores July 19 and Boost Mobile stores July 23. The Hydro Edge, which was announced earlier this year, is a waterproof Android smartphone. It has a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 4-inch display, 5-megapixel camera, and Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver tissue-conduction speaker technology. It has 1GB of RAM, 4 GB of built-in storage, and a memory card slot. The Hydro Edge will cost $19.99 after $50 mail-in rebate from Sprint, and $149.99 from Boost Mobile. Boost does not require contracts, Sprint does.
Powermat today announced that it has merged with PowerKiss. Powermat, based in the U.S., makes and markets wireless charging accessories. It backs the standard supported by the Power Matters Alliance. Before today, PowerKiss, which is based in Finland, backed a competing standard. Now that the two companies are one, they are together throwing their weight behind the PMA wireless charging standard. The PMA is mounting a challenge to competing standards Qi and the Alliance for Wireless Power. Earlier this year, the PMA won support from AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, LG, Samsung, Starbucks, and ZTE. Further, AT&T mandated that its handset partners incorporate the PMA wireless charging standard into their devices by 2014. Verizon Wireless supports the Qi standard. The consumer electronics industry has yet to settle on a single standard.
Kyocera's new Hydro XTRM for U.S. Cellular sits at the high end of the Hydro lineup, with upgraded features like 4G and extra durability. You could also think of it as a "Torque Lite". Read on for our first impressions of this interesting new Android phone.
Kyocera's water-proof Hydro gains a better-equipped cousin in the Hydro Edge for Sprint and Boost. Packing better tech into a thinner profile, the Edge is a step up on paper, but how does it stack up in person? We take it for a quick spin in our hands-on report.
Kyocera today announced the Hydro Edge and Hydro XTRM, building on the success of the original Hydro. Like the original, the new models are affordable Android phones that are fully water-proof. The new models are slightly higher-end, however, both sporting a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor, 4-inch glass display, 5-megapixel auto-focus camera, and Android 4.1. Both models also feature the unique Smart Sonic Receiver tissue-conduction speaker technology found in the Torque. Both have 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of built-in storage, and a memory card slot.
- Hydro Edge: Coming to Sprint and Boost this summer, this CDMA model also sports HD Voice and a back-side-illuminated camera sensor. Its processor clocks in at 1 GHz.
- Hydro XTRM: On sale with U.S. Cellular starting today, this model steps up with 4G LTE, a 1.2 Ghz processor, a front camera, shock (drop) resistance to military standards, and a large 2,000 mAh battery.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site reveal a Kyocera device that may be headed to Verizon Wireless. The Kyocera C6750 includes the LTE and CDMA bands unique to Verizon, in addition to GSM and WCDMA bands used for global roaming. Other specs called out by the FCC include NFC, Bluetooth, and dual-band Wi-Fi. These features are typically reserved for smartphones, though the FCC documents do not confirm what type of device the C6750 is. Kyocera has not offered a phone through Verizon Wireless since the K323, which was sold from late 2006 through mid 2007.
The Power Matters Alliance, a group pitching a wireless charging standard that competes with the Qi and the Alliance for Wireless Power standards, has recently won new support from handset makers and carriers. The group announced this week that HTC, Huawei, LG, and Samsung have all joined the PMA, which already includes members such as AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, Kyocera, PowerMat, Starbucks, and ZTE. Further, existing PMA member AT&T is asking its handset partners to integrate PMA-compatible wireless charging technology into their handsets by 2014. According to the PMA, there are already some 1,500 PMA-certified wireless charging stations at Starbucks coffee shops, airports, and other locations around the country. The Power Matters Alliance uses a wireless charging technology that is slightly different from those offered by Qi and A4WP. Each of the three standards allows devices to charge wirelessly when placed on a compatible charging pad. Verizon's handsets have incorporated Qi for years, which already has wide support from other carriers and handset makers. The electronics industry as a whole has yet to settle on one of the standards for all devices moving forward.
Cricket Wireless today announced the Kyocera Kona, a flip phone very similar to Kyocera's Coast for Boost. The Kona can be paired with any of Cricket's low-cost feature phone plans. The Kona runs on Cricket's 1X network and includes a 2.4-inch QVGA internal display, a 1.44-inch external display, a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and a standard stereo headphone jack. The Kona includes a large dialpad for placing calls and large fonts for easier viewing. The Kyocera Kona will be available online and at Cricket stores beginning April 21 for $59.99. Service plans start as low as $35 per month.
Boost Mobile today launched the Kyocera Coast, a basic clamshell-style phone with a 2-megapixel camera and external display. The phone sports Bluetooth and voice dialing, but without LTE, video capture, or even a memory card slot, "affordable" is its most important feature. It is available today for $30, no contract required. In Kyocera's lineup, the Coast is most similar to the older Luno offered by Virgin as the S2100. Compared to the Luno, the Coast has a better camera and larger displays.
U.S. Cellular today announced that it will carry the Kyocera DuraPro starting February 27th for $150 before $50 mail-in rebate. The DuraPro - already offered by Sprint as the DuraXT - is water, shock, dust, and vibration resistant.
Kyocera was showing off the Torque at Mobile World Congress. This ultra-rugged Android smartphone claims to have it all.
Sprint today announced that the Kyocera Torque will be available online and in Sprint stores beginning March 8. The device will cost $99.99 with a new two-year contract. The Torque is a rugged Android smartphone.
Virgin Mobile USA today announced the Kyocera Event, a compact Android smartphone that sells for $79.99. The Event features a 3.5-inch HVGA display, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and a 3.2-megapixel camera with flash and video capture. The device runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and offers Virgin Mobile ID packs, an eco mode for energy savings, and Swype text input. The Event also includes Wi-Fi, GPS, and 3G, as well as 4GB of on-board storage and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. It is available in black beginning today, and will be available in red starting March 3.
PayLo today announced availability of the Kyocera Brio, a candybar feature phone that has a portrait QWERTY keyboard, 1.3-megapixel camera, Buetooth 2.0, and microSD support. The Brio costs $39.99 and does not require a contract. PayLo services start as low as $20 per month.
Sprint and Kyocera today announced the Torque, a new ruggedized Android smartphone that includes DirectConnect and LTE 4G. The Torque is rated at mil-spec 810G for protection from dust, shock, vibration, solar radiation, humidity, blowing rain, low pressure, salt fog, and extreme temperatures. It can also sit in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Other stand-out features include Kyocera's Smart Sonic Receiver audio technology, which transmits sounds via vibrations through things such as helmets or ear protection, for improved voice clarity when it might otherwise be impossible to hear. The Torque includes battery management software from Kyocera called Eco Mode and MaxiMZR, both of which help reduce the amount of energy needed by blocking background data connections. The Torque ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and includes a 4-inch WVGA LCD dispaly. It is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM. It has 4GB of built-in storage and also supports microSD cards up to 32GB. It has a 5-megapixel main camera and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. It includes NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. It will be available beginning in March.
Jitterbug today annnounced the Jitterbug Touch, an entry-level smartphone that is meant to make it easy for first-time smartphone owners to adjust to their new device. The Jitterbug Touch is a sideways slider based on the Kyocera Milano chassis, which includes a 3-inch QVGA display, full QWERTY keyboard, 3.2-megapixel camera, 512MB of on-board storage, support for microSD cards, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, GPS, and Wi-Fi. Rather than run the standard Android user interface, the Jitterbug Touch uses GreatCall's custom user interface that has been dramatically simplified for first-time users. It offers a bevy of the services that make Jitterbug popular with members of the AARP, such as 5Star Urgent Response, Shake for Help, and MedCoach. The Jitterbug Touch does not require a contract. It costs $169 ($149 for a limited time), and is available directly from GreatCall.
Sprint today announced a new application for Android smartphones that enables push-to-talk functionality. The app, called Sprint Direct Connect Now, brings PTT calling features to devices such as the Kyocera Rise and LG Optimus Elite. Some of the capabilities the app offers include the ability to: interact with other Nextel Direct Connect and Sprint Direct Connect devices; connect with up to 21 participants in Group Connect; call alerts; use touch screen controls without the PTT button; interact with the native address book; and set up Direct Connect favorites. The application is available to the Kyocera Rise first, with availability for LG Optimus Elite and other devices to follow. The app is a free download from the Google Play Store, but requires users to subscribe to a Direct Connect plan in order to use the service.
Sprint today announced the availability of a new Sprint iD pack that is aimed at making smartphones easier to use for seniors. The Active Senior ID pack includes 20 applications and services that Sprint believes can help to improve the smartphone experience for older users. For example, it includes access to WebMD, the AARP, MedsTimer, and a fall detector, among other services. The Active Senior ID pack is available on select handsets, including the LG Viper, Optimus Elite, and Marquee; the Motorola Photon 4G; the Samsung Galaxy Victory, Conquer 4G, Epic 4G, Galaxy S II, and Transform; the Kyocera Rise; and the ZTE Fury. The Sprint iD pack is free.