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Sprint, Kyocera Team On Feature Phone

Overland Park, Kan. – Sprint and its prepaid brands Boost Mobile and PayLo will launch a low-cost feature phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard, underscoring a continuing need to offer low-cost feature phones, particularly with no-contract services that don’t subsidize phones.

The Kyocera-made phone features CDMA 1x data technology, which delivers data at real-world speeds averaging 80Kbps to 100Kbps.

The phone is called the Verve when sold with Sprint and Boost service, and it’s called the Contact when sold with PayLo service.

Sprint positions the phone for power texters who don’t need a smartphone. “The traditional QWERTY keypad still has a strong following, and we’ll continue to support those consumers looking for affordable and simple, yet stylish devices,” added Eric Anderson, Kyocera’s senior VP/general manager global sales and marketing.

Features include text-to-speech capabilities for menus, messaging, web browsing, contacts, notifications and the like for the vision impaired. Other accessibility features include high-contrast user interface, large fonts, dedicated In Case of Emergency (ICE) and 911 shortcuts, and numeric and QWERTY keyboards with well-defined buttons, Sprint said.

The phone also features a 2.4-inch display, 2-megapixel camera with 2x zoom and dedicated function key, and Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate.

For the Sprint-brand network, the phone will be available in gray or pink beginning April 11 in Sprint’s direct-ship sales channels, web store, and tele sales. Consumers buying it on an installment plan with no contract pay $0 down (plus tax) and 24 monthly payments of only $5.42.

A navy blue version will be available without a contract at Boost Mobile beginning Tuesday, May 6, at $49.99 at Boost Mobile’s retail stores, select independent wireless dealer locations, and Boost’s web store with free shipping.

Under the Kyocera Contact name, the phone will be available with PayLo no-contract service at $39.99 beginning May 13. The PayLo-branded handsets are available at more than 40,000 retail stores, including independent dealers and national retailers such as Best Buy, RadioShack and Target.