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Kyocera Expands Waterproof Smartphone Series

Las Vegas — Kyocera expanded its Hydro series of dust-proof, waterproof Android smartphones with the launch of two models that join a current model.

The company plans “soon” to further expand the series, a spokesperson told TWICE.

The phones tap into a consumer need for waterproof phones, said the spokesperson. Most insurance plans don’t cover damage from water, he noted.

Kyocera unveiled the two phones on the eve of the CTIA convention at the Ice Bar in the Mandalay Bay hotel. The company launched its first Hydro smartphone last year through prepaid service provider Boost and expanded the phone’s distribution earlier this year through prepaid provider Cricket.  Boost Mobile.

Compared to the original Hydro, the new Hydro models feature larger higher-resolution screens, Android 4.1  OS, dual-core processors instead of single core, and other enhancements.

The two new models are the Hydro Edge, a 3G CDMA Rev. A phone due from Sprint and Boost Mobile sometime during the summer, and the Hydro XTRM, which combines 4G LTE with 3G CDMA and adds military spec 810G shock resistance. The military spec certifies that the device will survive after being dropped 26 times from 4 feet.

The XTRM is available today through U.S. Cellular’s online store at $29 and will be available in retail stores on May 24. The Edge could retail for around $130 through prepaid provider Boost and could retail for less than $50 with one of Sprint’s postpaid plans, a Kyocera spokesman said.

Both models feature IP57 dust- and waterproof certification to withstand dust, water sprays from rainstorms and sprinklers, and total submersion in up to 3.28 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

Like their predecessor, both models feature Smart Sonic Receiver technology, which eliminates a traditional speaker by transmitting vibrations directly from the phone’s front panel to the eardrum when the phone is placed against the user’s ear or against an area of the head close to the ear. The technology dramatically increases the clarity and intelligibility of incoming calls in noisy environments, the company said.

 Eliminating the speaker also delivers cleaner aesthetics and contributes to waterproofing, the company noted.

The Edge features Android 4.1 OS, 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 4-inch capacitive impact-resistant IPS LCD touchscreen with WVGA (800 by 480 pixel) 233 ppi display, 1GB RAM, 4GB ROM, 32GB memory card slot and 1,600 mAh lithium-ion battery. The rear 5-megapixel camera/camcorder features LED flash and such enhanced camera features as autofocus, panorama mode, HDR (High Dynamic Range), facial recognition, smile/blink detection and burst-mode settings. The Edge lacks front camera.

Other Edge features include 3G mobile hot-spot capability supporting up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, and stereo Bluetooth 4.0 + LE/ EDR.

The 4.5-ounce phone measures 4.9 inches by 2.5 inches by 0.39 inches.

The shock-proof Hydro XTRM features Android 4.1, 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB ROM, 4-inch impact-resistant IPS WVGA (800 by 480) touchscreen display with 233 ppi, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera/camcorder, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera,  2,000 mAh lithium-ion battery, 32GB memory card slot, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi hot-spot capability supporting up to eight devices, and stereo Bluetooth (4.0 + LE/EDR). Detailed camera capabilities were unavailable.

The 4.9-ounce phone measures 4.88 inches by 2.52 inches by 0.42 inches.

The original Hydro’s features include Android ICS OS, 3G CDMA Rev. A technology, 3.5-inch HVGA 480 by 320 IPS LCD display with 164 ppi, 2GB ROM, 512MB RAM, included 2GB MicroSD card, 1,500 mAh battery, 3.2-megapixel fixed-focus rear camera with 30 fps WVGA video capture, LED flash, no front camera, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1+E