Sprint Motorola i1 rugged PTT phone gets official

Motorola's i1 Android smartphone for Sprint has finally been made official, launching at CTIA Wireless 2010 this week. The touchscreen smartphone is the first Android device to support push-to-talk on Sprint's Nextel Direct Connect network, and also has a 3.1-inch HVGA touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera with flash and a microSD card slot. There's the usual EVDO Rev.A and WiFi, along with Bluetooth, and Motorola have preloaded Opera Mobile Mini and the Swype keyboard.  The i1 is also a rugged device, capable of withstanding dust, shock, vibration and blowing rain to military specifications. The Motorola i1 will arrive on Sprint this summer, with pricing and specific availability tba. Press Release: Motorola and Sprint Announce World’s First Push-To-Talk Android-Powered Smartphone - Motorola i1 Combines military spec ruggedness with the latest in smartphone technology, into a sleek touch screen design LAS VEGAS – CTIA WIRELESS – March 22, 2010 – Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Sprint (NYSE: S) today broke new ground with the announcement of Motorola i1, the world’s first push-to-talk Android™-powered smartphone. Sleek and attractive, yet durable, Motorola i1 is the first iDEN device to carry the features of a modern smartphone including a 3.1-inch touch screen, Wi-Fi®, optimized browsing experience with the latest Opera Mini 5 browser, access to thousands of apps and a push-to-talk experience that includes exciting new features. Sprint will begin offering Motorola i1 this summer. With more than 17 years of expertise, Sprint is the industry leader in push-to-talk, serving the world’s largest push-to-talk community with millions of Nextel Direct Connect subscribers on the fastest national push-to-talk network. Nextel Direct Connect® has set the industry standard for push-to-talk worldwide. More U.S. workers communicate in less than a second with Nextel Direct Connect than with any other push-to-talk service. “Motorola remains focused on delivering differentiated Android experiences within our product portfolio,” said Mark Shockley, senior vice president, Motorola Mobile Devices. “With the Motorola i1, we’re excited to offer iDEN users the opportunity to enjoy a feature-rich smartphone with push-to-talk, whether it’s for work or play.” “As the first Nextel Direct Connect Android smartphone, Motorola i1 with Wi-Fi offers a powerful tool for our customers with access to thousands of applications in the Android Market™,” said Fared Adib, vice president – Product Development, Sprint. “With rugged durability, a full touchscreen and 5.0 megapixel camera, Motorola i1 gives push-to-talk customers a compelling smartphone that can withstand some of the harshest environments.” Motorola i1 enhances the push-to-talk experience with the ability to view who is calling regardless of what application you are in, whether you are managing your emails, checking your calendar, composing messages or viewing media. Must-have Features and Nextel Direct Connect With solid body construction that meets military specifications for protection against dust, shock, vibration and blowing rain1, Motorola i1 is designed for those who work and play hard. It automatically syncs and integrates office and personal information such as emails, calendar appointments and contacts. Key features include: Popular business tools such as Microsoft Document Viewer and corporate sync ensure Word or PowerPoint files can be accessed on the go. Message entry is a breeze with both Android standard virtual keyboard and Swype™ virtual keyboards being offered. A 5 megapixel camera with flash, geo-tagging and panoramic capabilities provides crisp photos and clearly displays them on the vibrant 3.1-inch HVGA screen. Video can also be recorded and stored on a provided microSD for sharing or future viewing straight from the device. The latest Opera Mini 5 browser enables quick browsing over the Nextel National Network and Wi-Fi. The Android browser allows you to see web pages and Flash 8-enabled sites in full view using Wi-Fi. Motorola i1 can be continuously customized with thousands of applications from Android Market™. Application development information for Motorola i1 is available on the Sprint Application Developer web site at www.sprint.com/developer. Sprint offers developers a free sandbox with iDEN capabilities to test their apps. Sprint is a charter member of the Open Handset Alliance™ and the Sprint Application Developer Program has been providing tools for third-party developers since Sprint first launched the Wireless Web on its phones in 2001. In addition, Motorola provides developers with broad market reach through MOTODEV, the company’s global program for developers and independent software vendors (ISV). MOTODEV offers a streamlined path into multiple distribution channels including Android Market™ and operator channels. Developers interested in Android application development with Motorola can visit: http://developer.motorola.com. New Relationship with Mike Rowe In addition to introducing Android into push-to-talk devices, Motorola is also bringing a new face to its iDEN portfolio: Mike Rowe. Mike has worked as an apprentice at more than 250 of the toughest jobs in America, and his experience and reputation as a hard worker are a perfect fit for Motorola’s iDEN portfolio. The new relationship announced today will feature Mike as a spokesperson for Motorola’s rugged push-to-talk devices. "Typically, the work I’ve done tends to take its toll on my phones and I end up breaking ‘em on the job," said Mike. "It'll be fun to use one that's not afraid of a little dirt." Motorola is also supporting mikeroweWORKS, a public relations campaign for skilled labor that Mike launched on Labor Day of 2008. "It's really gratifying to see some big companies getting behind the notion that working hard is just as important as working smart,” said Mike. “I'm happy to talk about a phone that can do both." Availability and Pricing Motorola i1 will be available through Sprint in North America in the summer of 2010. Customers interested in Motorola i1 can pre-register at www.sprint.com/motoi1 orwww.motorola.com. Motorola i1 offers advanced data capabilities that will require activation on a plan that includes unlimited data. For just $69.99 per month Sprint’s Everything Data 450 plan with Any Mobile, AnytimeSM gives customers unlimited calling with any U.S. wireless user, unlimited Direct Connect and Group Connect®, and unlimited nationwide texting, email, web browsing and GPS Navigation. (All price plans exclude surcharges and taxes). Sprint Everything Data plans automatically enroll customers in the Sprint Premier loyalty program providing annual device upgrades, discounted accessories and other money-saving benefits. Sprint’s business customers can also select Sprint Business Advantage Messaging & Data PlansSM, starting at $59.99 per month. This includes unlimited Direct Connect; Wireless Web; unlimited text, picture and video messaging; 200 anytime minutes with nationwide long distance and Any Mobile, Anytime, unlimited nights and weekends starting at 7 p.m. and GPS Navigation.

ThickButtons arrives on Android Market

A new soft keyboard for android has just been released. ThickButtons is now available in the Android Market.  This keyboard attempts to predict the next button you’re going to press and makes it bigger than the rest of the keys.

AT&T Dell Aero gets official

AT&T have announced their first Android smartphone, the Dell Aero, which looks to be their rebadge of the Dell Mini 3.  Details on the handset are scant - we're expecting to hear more at CTIA Wireless 2010 this week - but AT&T have confirmed that they've worked with Dell on re-skinning the standard Android UI. Otherwise we're guessing the handset is a 3G phone with a 3.5-inch 640 x 360 touchscreen display, and a 3-megapixel auto-focus camera with flash.  There's also Bluetooth, a microSD slot, and GPS. According to the AT&T press release there will eventually be an Aero mini-site at www.att.com/aero; however it doesn't appear to be live at time of writing.

i-mobile 8500 to be Thailand’s Hero? [Video]

Room for another budget Android device?  Hot on the heels of the Chinavision Robot comes the i-mobile 8500, apparently set to launch in Thailand come Q2 2010.  Running Android on a 3.2-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen, complete with a trackball for navigation, the 8500 has 3G, WiFi and GPS - just like the HTC Hero, in fact. There's also a 5-megapixel camera, FM radio and microSD card slot, and the whole thing measures 112 x 56.5 x 14.9 mm.  No word on how much it will cost when it arrives in Thailand, but there's a walkthrough demo in thitiphan's video below. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giAsMTCa-_Y[/youtube] [Thanks Andrew!]

Chinavision Robot budget Android phone gets reviewed

Looking for Android on a budget?  Lured in by the subsidized prices for today's Android smartphones, but reluctant to sign up to a new, two-year agreement?  Chinavision's Robot promises the scratch that itch for you: at $179.10 it's about the same cost as a regular Android phone, but you're getting it SIM-free. Over at The Red Ferret Journal they've reviewed the Robot, and as you might expect there are some compromises to hit that price-tag.  For a start there's no 3G - it's GSM/EDGE only - and the OS is Android 1.5; the 2.8-inch touchscreen is resistive and runs at 320 x 240 resolution.  Meanwhile the CPU is just 400MHz and the camera only 2-megapixels.  The end result is a phone that isn't exactly swift, but otherwise the review seems surprisingly positive. In fact, the Robot feels well put together (even if the style is borrowed a little from the BlackBerry Storm) and the lack of 3G means you get around three days use out of a full charge.  Considering something like the HTC Tattoo still runs to £179.99 ($270), the Chinavision Robot might not be such a bad deal.

HTC Incredible – First Look (Video)

The HTC Incredible has not yet been announced officially by Verizon, it’s expected to make its debut at this year’s CTIA along with a slew of other Android based devices. Verizon Wireless fans are impatiently waiting for this to hit the shelves and that may happen within the coming weeks.

T-Mobile launches HTC Desire competition

T-Mobile UK has a new promotion to commemorate the launch of the HTC Desire on the UK network on March 26, they are giving away one HTC Desire to any T-Mobile user who enters its online draw. To enter, sign up on T-Mobile UK forums and email some information given there and you could be the lucky winner.
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