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.