LAS VEGAS — Prepaid carrier Leap Wireless will launch Kyocera’s first Android-based smartphone, the Zio M6000, sometime this year, the carrier told TWICE dur ing CTIA Wireless 2010.
The Zio will be among the first smartphones offered by Leap. The phone will operate in 3G CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A mode in Leap’s Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) 1.7/2.1GHz bands as well as in 3G mode in the 800/1,900MHz bands. Kyocera previously said the phone operated in 3G mode only in the 800/1,900MHz bands.
Because of the phone’s additional bands, Kyocera will be able to target the phone to more carriers than previously thought. Potential 800/1,900MHz carriers include Verizon Wireless and Sprint, and potential AWS-band carriers include MetroPCS.
Leap Wireless currently offers no smartphones but will offer the Kyocera smartphone and a BlackBerry smartphone sometime this year, a Leap spokesperson told TWICE. The Zio could become the first Android smartphone offered in the U.S. with a prepaid plan, Leap noted.
The carrier also has added roaming agreements to enable its subscribers to use its service in all 50 states, up from the current 35. The company also announced new service and rate plans to go with the footprint expansion.
The Zio marks Kyocera’s return to the smartphone market after an absence of about five years, having previously marketed Palm-OS smartphones.
The full-touchscreen phone with virtual QWERTY keyboard features the Android 1.6 (Donut) OS, 600MHz processor, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, 3.5-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen, frontpanel trackball navigation, 3.2-megapixel camera/camcorder with autofocus, microSD slot supporting 32GB cards, stereo Bluetooth version 2.1 + EDR and 1,130mAh battery offering 6.2 hours of talktime. Kyocera plans to offer an upgrade to the Android 2.x OS sometime in the future.