Moto, Sprint to Offer Push-To-Talk Android i1

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Sprint (NYSE: S) today released details of a new push-to-talk, Android-powered smartphone, the Motorola i1, combining the popular ruggedized form of the iDen device family with the features typically found in smartphones.

The curtain was raised on the i1 at CTIA 2010, being held this week in Las Vegas, and is expected to be available this summer. While pricing details were not disclosed, the two companies had plenty to share in terms of features and specifications.

Motorola i1 is the first iDEN device to sport specifications generally found on modern smartphones, including a 3.1-inch touch screen, Wi-Fi, optimized browsing with the Opera Mini 5 browser and the ability run mobile apps, in this case, built for the Android mobile OS, according to Motorola.

Sprint's new offering also enhances the push-to-talk experience with the ability to view who is calling regardless of what application is running and whether or not the user is managing e-mails, checking the calendar, composing messages or viewing media, according to the companies.

"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," Fared Adib, vice president of product development at Sprint, said in statement. "With rugged durability, a full touchscreen and 5-megapixel camera, Motorola i1 gives push-to-talk customers a compelling smartphone that can withstand some of the harshest environments."

The news comes on the heels of Verizon's release of a push-to-talk app for its fleet of BlackBerrys. Meanwhile, Android handsets are starting to gain traction in the marketplace after several signature releases, most notably the Droid on Verizon. Newcomer Android, backed by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), makes steady gains in narrowing the gap between the front-runners -- RIM's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry OS and Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone OS.

Motorola i1 Smartphone Key Features

In addition to protection from the elements -- the i1 has a form factor that meets military specifications for protection against dust, shock, vibration and blowing rain -- the Motorola i1 is also designed to make mobile computing more efficient. It automatically syncs and integrates office and personal information such as e-mails, calendar appointments and contacts. Other key features include: business tools such as Microsoft Document Viewer and corporate sync ensure Word or PowerPoint files can be accessed on the go; a standard virtual Android keyboard and Swype virtual keyboard; a 5-megapixel camera with flash, geo-tagging and panoramic capabilities; and 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 browsing over the Nextel National Network and Wi-Fi. The Android browser allows users to see Web pages and Flash 8-enabled sites in full view using Wi-Fi.

News of the Motorola i1 also comes at a time when Motorola is the midst of a resurgence in the lucrative smartphone sector after the roll out of several impressive Android-powered handsets. These include the Motorola Cliq, Droid, Devour and Backflip.

Meanwhile, the top wireless carriers are all gunning to dominate sales by forging alliances with smartphone makers and diversifying their respective portfolios with handsets running on all the major mobile operating systems.

TAGS:

Android, Motorola, mobile device, mobile downloads, push-to-talk

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