[Update] An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the Kyocera Hydro was Kyocera’s first US smartphone.
It’s not easy to be a newcomer in the crowded Android universe, which is why you have to draw the attention with something unique or innovative from the beginning. Kyocera is not exactly what you would call a newcomer in the smartphone world, but, at least in the Western markets, the Japanese electronics manufacturer is not a household name either.
In July, Kyocera announced the Hydro, a 3.5-incher with water protection, but the limited availability (it has only hit Boost Mobile for the moment) crippled its chances of ever becoming highly successful. Now, it seems that Kyocera will release another device stateside, which might stir more interest, thanks to a few unique features and better availability.
We have known for a while that the Rise will be hitting Sprint and Virgin Mobile, but what we didn’t know is when will that happen and how will the new handheld be priced. Fortunately, the relentless guys over at TechnoBuffalo have picked up a leak that solves both those mysteries. Not only that, but it also makes us excited about the Kyocera Rise, which will hit Sprint on August 19 for just $19.99. That’s the rumored pricing for the on-contract phone with a two-year carrier agreement after a $50 mail-in rebate, and it sounds pretty darn affordable. Now don’t think the Rise will come with 4G LTE speeds, a quad-core processor, or a humongous battery. On the contrary, it’s an entry-level Android smartphone. But it still looks like it could pack a decent punch for those 20 bucks.
With a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that we’ve stopped seeing much of — even though many people still find it useful — the Kyocera Rise will run Android 4.0 ICS out of the box and will be powered by a single-core 1 GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 processor. The rest of the features include a 3.5-inch IPS LCD touchscreen with 320 x 480 pixel resolution, 512 MB of RAM, a 3.2-megapixel camera, a 1,500 mAh battery, 2 GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, Bluetooth 2.1, and a microSD card slot.
Impressive? Not even close! Decent? Definitely! Original or innovative? Well, not exactly, but the low pricing point, slide-out QWERTY keyboard and ICS running make this phone stand out from the entry-level crowd a bit. Not to mention the display, processor and battery are not that awful either.
Anyone interested? If so, keep us bookmarked; we’ll keep you folks updated if the leak will prove accurate. Or you can head on over to Sprint in nine days to check out if there’s a new dirt-cheap slider waiting for you.