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CTIA 2010

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Motorola i1 Opera Mini Firefox Mobile Samsung  

Mar 22, 2010, 9:00 PM   by Eric M Zeman, Philip Berne and Rich Brome
updated Mar 24, 2010, 6:49 PM

On the ground in Las Vegas; hands-on with the Samsung Strive & Sunburst, HTC EVO 4G, Samsung Galaxy S and Kyocera Zio, plus more new phones from Motorola, LG and ZTE.

Motorola's i1 is the first Android phone for Sprint's Nextel iDEN network, and one of the first ruggedized Android phones.

The fact that it's ruggedized is impressive, because it's relatively sleek and thin, for a ruggedized phone. The design is at least as nice as the Cliq XT, and in fact looks very similar to that phone; at a distance, you might mistake one for the other. The body feels solid and the physical buttons work well; they seem like they could be used with gloves. Unfortunately, the capacitive touch screen - and touch keys below it - won't work with gloves; this may be the one time we question the choice of a capacitive screen.


The ruggedized case isn't submersible, but it is rated for "blowing rain", and you can see a serious rubber gasket under the battery cover... that is, if you can pry it off. The i1 has a very strange sliding latch that helps you unlock and pry off the back, but only helps you about 1/4 of the way; getting it the rest of the way off requires strong fingernails and some determination. Getting it back on it just as tricky. It's among the more frustrating battery covers I've tried.

The interface looks like Blur, but it isn't. Motorola's signature green and blue buttons grace the bottom of the home screen, but the social networking integration isn't there. In spite of that, the i1 still runs Android version 1.5, an old version of the OS. The reason is simply that they started working on this device before newer versions were available from Google, and they've done work to customize it, integrating PTT (walkie-talkie) features and Motorola's custom Exchange solution (which syncs mail, contacts, and calendar.) Motorola didn't rule out an Android 2.x upgrade, but wouldn't commit to it, either.

i1 UI  

The PTT customizations include support for PTT contacts and the weird ID numbers iDEN PTT requires. They've added a feature that lets you filter your contacts by just PTT contacts or just Exchange contacts. A special PTT widget on the home screen lets you quickly change what the PTT button does.

Inside, the i1 is powered by a Freescale 600 MHz ARM processor. It seems speedy enough cruising through basic tasks. On the data side, the i1 lacks any kind of 3G. It doesn't even have WiDEN, the pseudo-3G that Nextel offers. So any kind of Internet-accessing app is going to be deadly slow. That's why Motorola includes Opera Mini 5, a browser optimzed for slow connections; it's the only way they could make web browsing bearable on this phone. There is the standard Android browser, but you'd only want to use it when you have a WiFi connection.

There's no multi-touch on the i1, but they have added extra predicitive text options, including XT9 and the excellent Swype.

Here is a video tour of the Motorola i1 in action:

About the author, Eric M Zeman, Philip Berne and Rich Brome:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.



This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.


Mar 30, 2010, 9:20 AM


the samsung sunburts does have 3g data guys it is a 3g phone.

Mar 23, 2010, 5:22 PM

"With Google"?

So far, the Samsung GalaxyS and the HTC EVO have both been branded "with Google" on the back cover, yet neither of them seem to be running stock android. Am I mistaken, has Google changed this policy, or is this just a prototype snafu?
I think now it just means that Google worked with them and had a hand in designing the phone/software. Basically the phone has a stamp of Google's approval; and also access to all of Google's Apps and the Market.
So far it seems that Google is making the agreement that their name be posted on the new phones they sell and or help develop. I base this reasoning looking at the Nexus One, Samsung Moment and, Droid among other devices. Google seems to be coming out...

Mar 23, 2010, 10:42 PM

Youtube High Quality

This feature is actually on the Moto Droid (and I'm assuming any device that runs 2.0 or higher). It has to be toggled from the menu though. (I believe there is an option for it to auto toggle over wifi)
all android phones (to my knowledge) show videos in 'high quality' when connected to wifi. not all phones though have the option to toggle between low and high quality while on 3g though, like the droid.

BUT, I think i saw they mentioned in one of ...

Mar 23, 2010, 8:23 PM


i want that phone so badly!!!!!!!!!!! but with a keyboard like the droid

Mar 23, 2010, 11:33 AM

missing feature?

I noticed that the iphone version does not have the 'downloads' button. does that mean you cannot download files from opera mini on iphone? or that it is just missing a download manager to keep track of them all?
They probably don't plan on it being accepted by Apple's approval process. Opera is probably thinking that they can add features later if/when it gets approved.
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