It looks like August 19 may be New QWERTY Smartphone Day at Sprint. The carrier has announced that it will launch the Kyocera Rise on August 19, the same day that the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE is due to arrive, with pricing for the Rise to be set at $19.99 with a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year contract. The Rise will also be headed to Virgin Mobile on August 31, where it'll be priced at $99.99 without a commitment of any kind.
Kyocera's Rise features a 3.5-inch 320x480 display and a four-row sliding physical keyboard on its face, as well as a 3.2-megapixel camera on its rear. Buried inside the Android 4.0-powered Rise is a 1GHz MSM8655 Snapdragon processor, 2GB microSD card and 1,500mAh battery. The Rise may be quite as high-end as its aforementioned Motorola QWERTY brother, but for $20 on-contract at Sprint or $100 sans commitment at Virgin, the fact that its got a keyboard and Android 4.0 could make it worth considering for folks in the market for an affordable smartphone. Sprint's press release for the Rise is available for your perusal below.
Kyocera Rise Brings Affordable QWERTY with Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, to Sprint and Virgin Mobile USA
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & SAN DIEGO (BUSINESS WIRE), August 15, 2012 - Sprint (NYSE: S) and Kyocera Communications, Inc. today announced the launch of Kyocera Rise, an Android™ smartphone with a full QWERTY slide-out keypad and high-resolution touchscreen display. Kyocera Rise offers feature-phone loyalists the ability to easily move up to a smartphone without losing their tactile keyboard or spending a lot of money.
Equipped with Android 4.0 operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, Kyocera Rise will be available in all Sprint retail channels, including Web Sales (www.sprint.com) and Telesales (1-800-SPRINT1) beginning Sunday, Aug. 19, for $19.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate with a new line of service or eligible upgrade and two-year service agreement. It will be available without a contract at www.virginmobileusa.com beginning Friday, Aug. 31, for $99.99. (Pricing excludes taxes.)
“Kyocera Rise brings customers the comfort of an easy-to-use Android smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard,” said David Owens, vice president-Product Development, Sprint. "It is a great option for customers who are new to smartphones, parents looking for the perfect first device for their teens and tweens or anyone looking for a device with an impressive set of features at a great price. This is a perfect addition to round out our Android portfolio.”
A survey by industry analyst firm Yankee Group earlier this year revealed that 69 percent of consumers called a QWERTY keypad a “must have” or “nice to have” feature on their mobile devices. Kyocera Rise combines that feature with a 3.5-inch IPS LCD touchscreen display for easy navigation, Web browsing and stunning displays of pictures and video.
“There’s a significant population of underserved consumers out there for whom a touchscreen simply isn’t enough,” said Eric Anderson, senior vice president and general manager-Global Sales and Marketing, Kyocera Communications Inc. “For these people, keys are a vital feature. Along with smartphone users who love their keys, approximately half of mobile users still have feature phones with keypads, so they’re comfortable using keys. Kyocera Rise has all the features you’d want in a smartphone in an attractive and affordable 3G device that will appeal to those underserved consumers.”
Kyocera Rise features a 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive 480x320 IPS LCD touchscreen display and Swype for rapid text entry. Its 1,500mAh Lithium-ion battery ensures long periods of use between charges and provides more than 8.5 hours of talk time. Additional features include:
Kyocera Rise customers can enjoy an unlimited data experience with Sprint Everything Data plans. Sprint’s Everything Data plan with Any Mobile, AnytimeSM includes unlimited Web, texting and calling to and from any mobile in America while on the Sprint Network, starting at just $79.99 per month for smartphones – a savings of $20 per month versus Verizon’s comparable plan with unlimited talk, text and 2GB Web (excludes taxes and surcharges).
Consumers looking for a commitment-free option can pair the Kyocera Rise with Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk unlimited data and messaging plans that start at $35 per month for 300 minutes of voice and include unlimited messaging and data. For those looking for a bit more talk time, the $45 plan offers 1,200 minutes of voice and the $55 plan offers unlimited voice each month. All plans include unlimited messaging and data (plans include 2.5GB of full-speed data).1
In addition, Sprint is deploying Network Vision – an all-new network from Sprint that offers enhanced 3G service – with a stronger wireless signal, faster download speeds, expanded coverage and better in-building performance – and 4G LTE, with faster data applications. Sprint rolled out 4G LTE to millions of people in 15 cities on July 15 and plans to introduce more markets to the network in 2012. By the end of 2013, Sprint expects to have largely completed the build out of its all-new 4G LTE nationwide network – with an enhanced 3G network – covering 250 million people across the United States. For the most up-to-date details on Sprint’s 4G LTE portfolio and rollout, please visit www.sprint.com/4GLTE.