Kyocera has brought two new handsets to CTIA, the Hydro and the Rise, and they're letting them out of the bag this morning. Both phones are decidedly entry level, use the latest technology to enhance voice call sounds, and run Ice Cream Sandwich. The Hydro is a 3.5-inch HVGA with an MSM8655 Snapdragon at 1 GHz, and 512 MB of RAM. It's also waterproof at 1 meter for 30 minutes, because according to Kyocera "70% of users polled said that water resistance is an important feature in their next phones." We can't argue there, we've all seen horror stories about water and smartphones.

The Rise shares the same specs (and overall basic design) with a four-row horizontal sliding QWERTY keyboard instead of the water proof design. Again Kyocera tells us why, saying that "69 percent of consumers say QWERTY keyboards are a must-have or nice-to-have feature in their next mobile phones." A statistic that I can get behind, but I'm thinking most readers on the Internet will disagree with. 

Possibly the most interesting specification is the "Tissue Conduction" audio technology. Originally designed for hearing aid devices, the tech uses a piezoelectric transducer that transmits sound through air as sound waves, and through soft tissue as vibrations. This "delivers dramatically improved hearing in noisy environments" according to Kyocera. You'll simply place any portion of the "A-cover" over the outer ear and ambient noise is cut and the transducer splits the signal to transmit on both paths. It's a really interesting concept, and one we can't wait to try.

There's no word on carrier, release dates, or prices, but both phones are equipped with EVDO radios and should appear later this year on Sprint or Verizon. Given Sprint's relation with Kyocera, my money is on the Now Network. See the full specifications for both after the break.

Kyocera Hydro specs

  • 2GB ROM / 512MB RAM
  • Touch QWERTY Slider
  • Non-slip textured surface with camlock
  • 2GB microSD™ included (up to 32 GB)
  • EV-DO Rev A
  • 1x Advanced
  • Generously sized keyboard
  • 4.53 x 2.44 x .50 in
  • (115 x 62 x 12.8 mm)
  • 4.16 ounces (TBD)
  • 1500 mAh BATTERY
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR
  • High-speed USB 2.0
  • 3.5 mm stereo headset jack
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • Digital compass
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor
  • CHIPSET MSM8655 @1Ghz clock speed (QCOM Snapdragon procssor)
  • 3.5-inch HVGA 480 x 320 IPS LCD Capacitive Touchscreen
  • 3.2 megapixel camera camcorder: WVGA 30 fps
  • LED flash
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich (v4.0)
  • Eco Mode
  • Swype
  • Water resistance: IPx5/IPx7*

Kyocera Rise specs

  • 2GB ROM / 512MB RAM
  • Touch QWERTY Slider
  • Smooth, grippable edges
  • 2GB microSD™ included (up to 32 GB)
  • EV-DO Rev A
  • 1x Advanced
  • Generously sized keyboard
  • 4.45 x 2.38 x .56 in
  • (113.0 x 60.5 x 14.3 mm)
  • TBD (weight)
  • 1500 mAh BATTERY
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR
  • High-speed USB 2.0
  • 3.5 mm stereo headset jack
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • Digital compass
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor
  • CHIPSET MSM8655 @1Ghz clock speed (QCOM Snapdragon procssor)
  • 3.5-inch HVGA 480 x 320 IPS LCD Capacitive Touchscreen
  • 3.2 megapixel camera camcorder: WVGA 30 fps
  • LED flash
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich (v4.0)
  • Eco Mode
  • Swype


There are 19 comments


Kyocera has more low def, low end phones?

Is there an Echo in here?

ehiggins says:

Both spec sheets say Touch QWERTY Slider and Generously sized keyboard

From talking with friends and family that aren't tech savvy, the “69% want physical keyboards” stat seems reasonable. I am only mentioning this as it seems that it is a rarity these days to even Android phones with a keyboard – especially high end phones.

It seems like when it comes to physical keyboards, it is more of what the manufacturers want to make rather than what the customers want to use.

hmmm says:

Ugh, come on. The EPIC and the EVO Shift have basically the same specs and are over a year old on Sprint(actually better if you include the screen res). I wish someone would make something like the One S in a slider and release it on Sprint. I am sure historically low sales figures have been the reason for the lack of sliders even though the poll says people want them.

I agree with their consumer polls but the things that mattered to people in the polls, like water resistance, aren't going to outweigh a nice screen or fast processor. People aren't going to buy a low end specced phone over something like the One S, One X or GS3 simply to get water resistance. At least not in my opinion.

These are not as good as a 2010 Epic.

These are clones of the 2009 Samsung Moment and Rogue.

Robbzilla says:

I miss my Epic, for the keyboard. I don't miss its battery life though... :D

I'd buy a high-end phone with a keyboard again... Seriously! But Sprint hasn't released a higher end phone than the Shift or the Epic with a keyboard on their network... SIGH...

schmogo says:

I'd buy a phone with a keyboard again. I'm not sure why physical keyboards are the NON-tech-savvy choice. Not liking the virtual keyboard doesn't make you a neophyte, it just means you prefer a physical keyboard.

hoosiercub says:

Agreed, It's kinda terrible that if we want to look to a "high-end" device with a full QWERTY we have to look to Motorola.

Unibrow says:

the problem is that physical keyboards take up space, personally I get by pretty well for the most part with a virtual keyboard. If my device is going to be thicker, I don't want a physical keyboard, I want it to have a bigger battery.

It would be nice if they made keyboard cases for these phones for the people that like them. It wouldn't be hard to produce a case, much like the iphone has, in some sort of official capacity that didn't rely on bluetooth but rather some kind of connection if you lets say removed the battery cover or something along the lines of utilizing the 3 prongs on say the galaxy nexus. Sell the damned thing for $100 and people will buy it if they want a high end android with a keyboard. It wouldnt' be very hard at all.

jean15paul says:

Nice idea

CeluGeek says:

And here I was thinking Ice Cream Sandwich had removed support for hardware keyboards... But again, I want phones with hardware keyboards AND GOOD SPECS!!!

Unless the Rise sells for cheap on prepaid, it's a failure waiting to happen.

Low end phone(s) but WITH Ice Cream Sandwich. Not bad , not bad.

NickAVV says:

480x320!?! Oh my. That's terrible resolution, even for that screen size.

jean15paul says:

I agree with some other posters here. I'd love a high end phone with a physical keyboard. But whenever a manufacturer/carrier release a phone with a physical keyboard, it's never high end. Even the Evo Shift (part of the flagship Evo line) was a dumbed down verison of the Evo with lesser specs.

vantechmag says:

SonyEricsson did release my excellent Xperia Pro in October, but Sony don't want to make any phones with keyboard - so they never promote the new phone and even stop the production after two months - even if this phone is pure magic and the best pocket computer I ever dreamt of!!

JeremySVilla says:

Kyocera is heading down the road, following Nokia's path.

patrixl says:

Well my Kyocera Digno was way better than these two phones. Only available in Japan though...

4" 800x480 organic EL screen (best phone screen I have ever used, in direct sunlight)
1.4GHz single-core CPU
4GB internal storage, SDcard
1220mAh battery (too little)
8 MP camera, bit slow, my Xperia phones were much better
VGA front-facing camera, also bad in low light conditions

overall good phone, too bad Kyocera doesn't market that kind of phone out of Japan, and instead has these crappy low-spec phones...

jondevere says:

I would love to get my hands on that Hydro. Def the best out of the 2 there.