Do you like the idea of water and ingress protection on the Galaxy S5, but don't feel like ponying up for a flagship phone? Then Kyocera hopes you'll consider its Hydro Vibe smartphone, at least if you're a potential Sprint or Virgin Mobile customer. The "ruggedized" Android phone will be launching on Sprint on May 9th and Virgin on May 27th. Sprint is talking up its "Easy Pay" payment plan, where the phone costs ten bucks a month for two years, but Virgin will sell it outright for $149.99.
That will get you a decidedly low-end phone, though you might have to look hard to tell. The 4.5" screen is just 960x540, though Kyocera says it's also impact and scratch resistant. Underneath is a 1.2Ghz quad-core Snapdragon CPU (probably an S400 model), 8GB of storage plus a MicroSD card slot, 1.5GB of RAM, an 8MP camera (2MP front-facing), and an anemic 2000mAh removable battery. The Hydro Vibe does come with wireless charging and NFC, but you'll have to make due with Android 4.3... and don't hold your breath for a software update any time soon. The phone has support for Sprint's new Spark LTE network speeds.
The Hydro Vibe is certified for IP57 water protection, which means that you can dunk it for up to 30 minutes in a meter of water before it will start to take damage. The water protection and removable battery makes the phone a bit chunky at 127.4x63.5x10.9mm. But aside from Kyocera's own Torque, Sprint's lineup is currently a little lacking in "tough" phones, so I suppose it will find at least a few buyers.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & SAN DIEGO (BUSINESS WIRE), May 05, 2014 - Just in time for Mother's Day, Father’s Day, spring showers and beach days, Sprint (NYSE:S) will offer the all new Kyocera Hydro Vibe waterproof 4G LTE smartphone beginning Friday, May 9. As we move into summer, Virgin Mobile USA will offer the Android™ device as well, without a contract, beginning May 27. Bringing this feature-rich smartphone to both Sprint and Virgin Mobile gives customers choice in how they pay for their devices and their monthly service plans.
According to recent survey data from comScore , 55 percent of people with children say they are “very likely” to purchase a waterproof phone – and for good reason. Parents report damaging phones twice as frequently as those without children.
“The demand for waterproof smartphones has only increased since Kyocera introduced the original Hydro in the U.S. in 2012,” said David Owens, senior vice president-Product, Sprint. “Hydro Vibe is the third generation of waterproof Kyocera devices Sprint has brought to our prepaid and postpaid customers. Vibe eliminates the worries of liquid damage during a day at the beach or a day on the job without having to invest in a waterproof case or sacrificing the sleek style and functionality we expect from smartphones.”
Kyocera Hydro Vibe is the newest addition to Kyocera's successful Hydro Series of waterproof Android smartphones, all of which can be completely submerged in up to one meter (3.28 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes. Built with affordable style and everyday protection in mind, Hydro Vibe features a thin bezel and Kyocera's award-winning Smart Sonic Receiver audio technology, allowing users to hear conversations more clearly in noisy environments like baseball games and loud restaurants.
“Kyocera is at the forefront of waterproof technology for mobile devices, proving that extra protection from life's accidents doesn't mean a smartphone has to be expensive and bulky," said Eric Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of global sales and marketing at Kyocera Communications Inc. "Hydro Vibe builds on the success of the original Kyocera Hydro and more than 40 Kyocera waterproof devices launched worldwide. It's a great gift idea for Mom or Dad or for anyone who wants some added protection from the elements during spring showers or summer fun."
In addition to being IP57-rated for protection against dust and water intrusion, Kyocera Hydro Vibe boasts the following features:
- Android 4.3, Jelly Bean
- 4.5-inch qHD capacitive, impact-resistant touchscreen display
- 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and video camera; 2-megapixel front camera
- Near Field Communication (NFC)-capable for easy file sharing with other NFC-enabled devices
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor with 1.2GHz quad-core CPU
- Wireless charging (PMA)
- 2,000mAh battery for longer use on a single charge, plus Kyocera’s proprietary Eco-Mode and MaxiMZR power-management apps
- 8GB of on-board memory, expandable to 32GB with microSD™
The device also will have the added advantage of running on Sprint SparkTM in markets where available. Sprint Spark is an enhanced LTE service designed to greatly improve the performance of video and other bandwidth-intensive applications. With peak wireless speed of 60Mbps, Sprint Spark enables stutter-free video chat on-the-go and mobile gaming that leaves lag behind.
Sprint recently launched six new Spark markets -- Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Tacoma, Wash.; Waukegan, Ill., and West Palm Beach, Fla. Sprint has launched 24 Sprint Spark markets and is expected to reach 100 million people by the end of the year.
In addition to Sprint Spark, Sprint continues to bring the most advanced innovation in sound quality to its customers with High-Definition (HD) Voice. HD Voice is a new Sprint standard for crystal-clear voice calls. It provides a fuller, more natural-sounding voice, plus noise-canceling technology that virtually eliminates background noise from places like a busy road or crowded restaurant. 1 .
With Sprint Easy Pay, well-qualified buyers can purchase Hydro Vibe for $0 down (plus tax) and 24 monthly payments of $9.59.
The Sprint Framily Plan lets customers decide who they consider family. The more people added to the group, up to 10 phone lines, the greater the savings for everyone on the plan. For one line of service, new Sprint customers pay $55 per month per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data while on the Sprint network (excluding taxes and surcharges). For each additional new Sprint customer who joins the Framily group, the cost per person goes down $5 a month up to a maximum monthly discount of $30 per line. For only $20 per month per line, Sprint Framily Plan members can buy up to unlimited data while on the Sprint network, and they are eligible to get a new phone every year.
Virgin Mobile Customers
Kyocera Hydro Vibe will be available beginning Tuesday, May 27, on www.virginmobileusa.comfor $149.99. All of Virgin Mobile’s smartphones can be paired with Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk™No-Contract plans with unlimited 3G data, and available 4G LTE data speeds for mobile phone service, including Android™-powered smartphones. Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk monthly unlimited data and messaging plans, which start at $35, are ideal for those smartphone users hungry for the most connectivity and the least amount of voice minutes.