28
Jan
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Sprint this morning announced plans to offer a new ultra-rugged Kyocera smartphone with Direct Connect "this spring." The device – dubbed Torque – offers the standard features expected from a ruggedized phone, including water resistance, dust prevention, and drop protection. That means you'll be able to drop it in the toilet, use it during a sandstorm, or throw it out of frustration without fear of shattering it into pieces.

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If you want specifics, the Torque can be submerged in meter-deep water for up to 30 minutes, handle temperatures from –22 to 140 degrees for three hours, stay safe from "heavy dust" for up to six hours, and be dropped more than 20 times from a height of four feet. Its specs, however, are akin to that of a mid-ranger from yesteryear:

  • 4" WVGA IPS display
  • 1.2GHz dual-core MSM8960 Snapdragon processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB Storage, microSD card slot
  • Sprint Direct Connect
  • 4G LTE
  • Android 4.0

The Torque is set to hit the streets sometime "this spring," and pricing should be announced "this quarter." For more information on the Torque, have a look at the full press release below, check out Kyocera's Torque landing page, or head over to The Now Network's site.

Kyocera Torque, Sprint’s First Ultra-Rugged 4G LTE Android Smartphone, Braves the Elements of Everyday Life and Backwoods Adventures

Featuring Sprint Direct Connect and Truly Unlimited 4G LTE data, Torque will be the first U.S. handset to offer Kyocera’s award-winning, proprietary Smart Sonic Receiver audio technology for unrivaled voice clarity; visit www.sprint.com/torque

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), January 28, 2013 - Water, dirt, drops – there seem to be 101 ways to break or damage smartphones that dutifully serve as mini computers, schedulers and entertainment devices. Today, Sprint (NYSE:S) and Kyocera Communications Inc. announce the upcoming availability of Kyocera Torque, built to survive extreme elements and everyday life.

Torque will be available this spring; exact availability and pricing will be announced this quarter. Torque is an ultra-rugged, 4G LTE Android™ smartphone featuring Sprint® Direct Connect® push-to-talk service and Kyocera’s award-winning Smart Sonic Receiver audio technology.

“Anyone will quickly appreciate the durability of this smartphone, whether you work in rugged environments or just enjoy outdoor activities,” said David Owens, vice president-Product Development, Sprint. “It seems like everyone I talk to has damaged a phone by dropping it on a hard surface. This phone is for all those customers who want to make sure even if that happens, the phone will withstand the fall. This is an impressive Android device that can withstand extreme conditions while bringing our customers the speed of Sprint 4G LTE and convenience of instant push-to-talk communications from Sprint Direct Connect.”

Torque is built to Military Standard 810G (MilSpec) to withstand dust, shock, vibration, solar radiation, humidity, blowing rain, low pressure, salt fog and extreme temperatures, along with IP67 standards for dust, sprayed water and full immersion up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes. The device is specifically designed to hold up to the rigors of today’s rough-and-tumble lifestyles – whether on a construction site, beach trip or a kids’ playground – without sacrificing style and features.

“We know from our research, conversations with customers and personal experiences that there’s a tremendous consumer need for rugged handsets to deal with life’s everyday challenges,” said Eric Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of global sales and marketing at Kyocera Communications. “Those devices, however, have traditionally been designed specifically for an enterprise customer. Kyocera has taken the most robust, rugged MilSpec features and combined them with our easy-to-use, affordable, Android smartphone designs to create a durable mobile device that supports not only the construction foreman using Sprint Direct Connect but also the outdoor sports enthusiast or the busy mom or dad who’s juggling children and playground duties.”

Water(park)-Proof, Dirt-Proof, Drop-Proof

Torque has been tested to hold up against life’s extremes – including some most people will never experience – to help ensure it will be there when you need it, including:

  • Waterproof whether sprayed or immersed in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, Torque can handle all the rain, sprinklers, hoses, spit, drool, drinks, sinks or toilet water life can throw at it – that's more than can be said of more than 82 million U.S. handsets that have already been destroyed by liquid.1
  • Extreme Temperatures of -22° to 140°F (-30° to 60°C) for a non-operating unit for two hours and -4° to 122°F (-20° to 50°C) for an operating unit for three hours – from backcountry snowboard trips to hikes in Death Valley, don’t sweat it.
  • Dropped 26 times from four feet high – or, the average week with kids at the playground.
  • Heavy dust for six hours – going off the grid while off-roading and camping will never be harder.
  • Horizontal, vertical and sideways vibrations for one hour – that mountain bike ride or roller coaster will be no match for Torque.
  • Exposure to salt fog for a complete 48 hour cycle; this cycle included 24 hours exposure to salt fog followed by 24 hours drying time – ideal for surfers, beach lovers or those who left their hearts and phones in San Francisco.
  • 95 percent humidity for 10 days straight – the phone can handle it, but its owners may not.
  • Solar radiation exposure of 1120 W/m2 for 24 hours – you might need sunscreen, but your phone doesn’t mind soaking up some rays.
  • Low pressure at 57.11 kPa/15,000 feet (4,572 meters) for two hours – higher than the tallest mountain peak in the lower 48 U.S. states.

Best of all, Torque combines the best ruggedized features from Kyocera’s highly successful Dura Series of ruggedized devices with an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), LTE smartphone. Torque features include a 4-inch WVGA (800 x 480) LCD IPS capacitive touchscreen with ruggedized, impact-resistant glass for added protection from scratches and cracks, a long-lasting 2,500mAh Lithium Ion battery and Swype for rapid text entry. It has a snappy MSM8960 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon® dual-core processor, 4GB ROM/1GB RAM memory, and supports microSD™ memory card expansion up to 32GB. Take advantage of 4G LTE speeds and the speedy processor with unlimited data. Sprint is the only national carrier with Truly UnlimitedSM 4G LTE data, text and calling to any mobile with no metering, no throttling, and no overages while on the Sprint network.

Smart Sonic Receiver Technology

Torque is the first U.S. device to feature Kyocera’s proprietary Smart Sonic Receiver technology, which eliminates the need for a traditional speaker in a handset, instead using vibrations to transmit sounds directly to the eardrum with unparalleled sound quality. Building on Kyocera's 53-year heritage in advanced ceramics, the new technology uses a Kyocera ceramic actuator to turn sounds into vibrations. It uses twin paths to transmit those sounds to the user: traditional sound waves and vibrations that are carried by body tissue directly to the eardrum and inner ear.

Placing the phone in contact with the general area of the ear creates clear sound even in very noisy environments such as construction sites, sporting events, concerts and playgrounds. As an added benefit, removing the traditional speaker eliminates the need for a speaker cavity in the phone's housing, enabling cleaner aesthetics and enhanced waterproofing capabilities.

The technology received multiple “Best of” awards at the wireless industry’s largest U.S. trade show, while editors at Popular Science magazine found the technology "worked so well – and so imperceptibly – that it eliminated the need for a conventional speaker altogether."

Mobile payments are enabled by Near Field Communication (NFC) as well as Wi-Fi (b/g/n), Stereo Bluetooth®(4.0 + LE/EDR) wireless technology support and high-speed USB 2.0. Torque's 5MP rear camera and 1.3MP front camera are enhanced with features such as panorama, high dynamic range, facial recognition, smile/blink detection and burst mode.

The rugged handset also includes Kyocera’s Eco Mode proprietary battery management software to monitor and conserve battery power, as well as MaxiMZR, a new software tool to save power by blocking background data connections for always-on nonessential apps.

In 2012, Sprint added more coverage area to its Sprint Direct Connect push-to-talk service – creating three times the push-to-talk coverage of its Nextel National Network – with the addition of roaming and Sprint 1xRTT coverage areas.2 The expansion of the Sprint Direct Connect network also marks another milestone for Network Vision, Sprint’s nationwide network upgrade using the newest, most advanced equipment in the industry. Sprint plans to consolidate multiple network technologies into one seamless network with the goal of increasing efficiency and enhancing network coverage, call quality and data speeds for customers.

Sprint introduced its all-new 4G LTE network in July 2012 and now offers service in 58 markets.3 For the most up-to-date details on the Sprint 4G LTE portfolio and rollout, please visit www.sprint.com/4GLTE. For detailed 4G LTE maps, providing coverage information right down to the address, please visitwww.sprint.com/coverage. Customers are encouraged to check back often, as the maps will be updated when coverage in these markets is enhanced.

Please visit www.sprint.com/torque or http://www.kyocerasmartphones.com/torque for more information.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • ChainsawCharlie

    Looks cool. Reminds me of the old Nokia phone that I had ages ago.

  • Elias

    As expected, hardware is bleeding-edge... from two years ago. And hardware buttons? Seriously, dafuq is wrong with these guys?