My first two smartphones, the Milano and the Rise, were both made by Kyocera, so I have a soft spot for the brand. The company's handsets generally may not be high-end, or even midrange, but they're good for average folks who don't live and die by the number of pixels their phone is able to push or flip tables if there's a momentary stutter when switching between home screens. Kyocera's latest offering, the Hydro ELITE, will launch online at Verizon Wireless this Thursday, August 29th, and it's quite an improvement over the company's usual offerings.
Anyone looking for an affordable handset might want to take notice of the Samsung Galaxy Prevail II available today from Boost Mobile. The device comes with Android 4.1.2, a 4-inch screen, a 800 by 480 resolution, and a 1750 mAh battery. A 5MP camera is embed in the back and the typical 1.3MP camera can be found in the front. The device will set you back just $180, and it comes without a burdensome two year contract.
The ruggedized smartphone market is small, but not so small that it's ignored. Admirable entries like the Samsung Rugby Smart and the Casio Commando might not have all the bells and whistles of their flagship contemporaries, but they take a licking and keep on ticking. Phone retailer Wirefly decided to put Sprint's Kyocera Torque (Bear Grylls approved!) through its paces via some decidedly extreme tests: a drop from two stories, hibernation in a block of ice, and most dramatically, a trip through a 30-minute washing machine cycle.
While these two devices are essentially unrelated in general, today they have one thing in common: they're both getting small OTA updates.
Sprint's Kyocera Rise is getting bumped up to build 1.011sp, which brings a few enhancements and general bug fixes:
Kyocera Rise Software Update - 1.011sp
- Qchat enhancements
- Camera Gallery App crashes when attempted to edit picture
- User can not pull down status bar during a call
- Overlap when signing into Gmail™
- Bluetooth connectivity issues
On the other side of the fence is the Archos Cobalt 80, which appears to be getting its first update.
If you're not in the market for an über cheap, probably contract free phone, feel free to move along. Assuming you didn't already when you saw the name 'Kyocera'. Still here? Good. Because I've got great news for you! The Kyocera Rise (no relation to the Dark Knight of the same name) is rumored to be coming to Sprint and Virgin Mobile very soon.
Twitter tipsters @evleaks, who has thus far tweeted nothing but leaked photos of devices with brief information on the devices depicted, has shared that Kyocera's contribution to the
Justice League budget smartphone world will be headed to Virgin Mobile, one of the nation's leading prepaid carriers, as well as Sprint.
Okay, so Kyocera's not really known for producing the best smartphones. And Boost Mobile is perhaps best known for mildly entertaining ads and cheap plans, compared to the big dogs. If you're not interested in having the latest and greatest, if your primary concern for network carrier is price, and if you spend a lot of time making phone calls under water, then I've got some great news for you: the Kyocera
Hail Hydro is coming to Boost Mobile for $129 (no contract) on August 3rd.
Since Kyocera was one of the only companies actually announcing something new at CTIA this year (this conference seems to get less and less relevant each year), I stopped by their booth to play around with the newborns - the waterpoof Hydro and the QWERTY Rise.
Both of these devices are definitely low- to mid-range, if you can really call a 2nd gen single-core Snapdragon mid-range anymore (no, you can't).
When we last left Kyocera, the company was still trying to convince us that more screens are more better. Today at CTIA, the company best known for creating the company printer you kick at least once a week in the office announced two new phones that are decidedly less gimmicky: the Kyocera Hydro and the Kyocera Rise
of the Machines.
First off, the Kyocera Hydro, which is designed to be water resistant, and billed as a device that can "withstand the spills and drops of everyday life." Which is handy because, as a device with a single-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 512MB of RAM, there is a very real chance you'll want to throw this device in a lake on more than one occasion.
Looks like Sprint is pushing some OTA updates to a couple of all-but-forgotten devices: the LG Marquee and the Kyocera Echo. We haven't really heard much about the Marquee since it was announced back in September, but it appears that Sprint hasn't forgotten about it. A minor OTA update should be rolling out to the Marquee right now that brings a couple of bug fixes:
- Device may lockup while on call
- Security Update
Similarly, that quirky little dual-screened oddity known as the Kyocera Echo is also on the receiving end of a minor update that fixes some issues:
- MMS audio cuts off after 8 seconds
- Changes to roaming guard display
- Activation of Commercial Mobile Alert System
- Security Update
It's probably safe to assume that the security update portion of both OTAs is the removal of Carrier IQ, which Sprint has been removing from all of its devices over the last several weeks.
The Kyocera Milano - a mid-range phone released on Sprint last September - is receiving an OTA update, bringing the device's software up to version 1.006sp. The update includes several bug fixes, as well as a security patch, "changes" to the phone's roaming guard display, and Mobile Alert System capability. If the update hasn't pushed to your Milano just yet, you can manually check by hitting Settings > About Phone > System Update > Update Firmware.