Hands-On: Casio G'zOne Android Phone
Jan 6, 2011, 12:44 AM by Philip Berne
Phone Scoop managed to spot and handle an unannounced rugged Android phone for Verizon at a CES event tonight. Although the phone carries Verizon, Casio, and G'zOne branding, the final marketing name is not known. A phone that seems to match this one was recently approved by the FCC with the internal model number C771. Read on for our hands-on impressions.
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At the Nuance Communications booth at the Pepcom Digital Experience event in Las Vegas, we found an unannounced touchscreen phone with distinct Verizon Wireless and Casio G'zOne branding. On the front, beneath the touchscreen panel, the phone has the familiar standard Android buttons: Menu, Home, Back, Search. There isn't much that we learned from the Nuance representatives, and Verizon Wireless has yet to announce this device, but from handling the body we did manage to form some impressions and make some guesses about the hardware.
The first question is whether this will be a waterproof device, like all of the previous G'zOne feature phones on Verizon Wireless. Motorola recently released a waterproof Android phone on T-Mobile, the Motorola Defy, so this wouldn't be the first waterproof Android on the market. The phone seems to be rugged enough to fit the normal G'zOne profile, though it's tough to say if the exposed speaker grills and tight fitting port covers are enough to resist immersion, let alone meet the military specification for which other G'zOne phones qualify.
One clue might be the battery cover around back. Rather than supplying a peel off cover, the unnamed G'zOne device has a locking mechanism, which is common on the waterproof devices. More telling, though, the back cover also has icons that seem to represent the trials the phone can endure. There's a water droplet, an arcing line that bounces off the ground, and a few other, less specific icons.
Unlike the sleek Motorola Defy, the Android G'zOne phone is thick and aggressive. The phone features sharp, industrial angles and exposed bolts. The bright red highlights are reminiscent of the Droid marketing campaign, so we wonder if this phone might qualify for Verizon Wireless' high-end Droid family branding.
We'll be looking out for this device at the Verizon Wireless CES press conference tomorrow morning, and in the near future. If it is finalized enough for Nuance to be using as a demo for its new gesture-based keyboard, it should be very close to an official announcement.
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Granted those are guesses, but I think they are pretty obvious based on previous G'zOne devices and the Android OS.