Sprint Makes its Android Lineup…Interesting?

April 18, 2011
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    This week, Sprint has made a few interesting moves. While carriers like Verizon are on a high end product assault with repeated releases of phones like the HTC Thunderbolt, Samsung Droid Charge, LG Revolution, Droid X2, and Droid Bionic which keep uping the ante. Sprint its going after the niche markets, it has added the only dual screened Android phone on the market, as well has announced the worlds first “green” Android phone made up of mostly recyclable materials, which also has an optional battery cover with a solar panel to recharge the phone, then when you’re done and ready to upgrade the phone can be easily recycled again. Lets take a closer look at these two offerings to see if they’re right for you.

    Kyocera Echo

    • Candybar style, with flip out secondary screen
    • Android 2.2 Froyo
    • Dual 3.5″ WVGA 800 x 480 TFT screens
    • 1 GHz Snapdragon processor with Adreno 200 GPU
    • 512MB RAM
    • 5MP autofocus camera, LED flash, 720p recording
    • 802.11g, 802.11b
    • Dual 1370mAh batteries
    • EVDO Rev A
    • 4.53″ x 2.22″ x 0.68″, 6.8 oz

    PROS

    • 4.7″ overall screen real estate when both screens are deployed.
    • Simultaneous use of some of the core apps
    • Dual 1370mAh batteries, secondary battery can be tethered to phone, or batteries can be swapped.

    CONS

    • Lack of software multitouch support, double tap and +/- on screen buttons are the methods used to zoom in on a daily basis.
    • First Gen Snapdragon, they should have at least used something like the 2nd Gen MSM8255 with Adreno 205 for more GPU power.
    • EVDO Rev A, 3G speeds have the same monthly cost as 4G, so theres no reason to get 3G over 4G phones.
    • Border between screens makes for awkward viewing, constant adjusting to see perfectly.
    • Thickness, the phone is .68″ / 17.2mm thick due to the flip out second screen.

    Samsung Replenish

    • Portrait QWERTY touchscreen
    • Android 2.2 Froyo
    • 2.8″ QVGA 480 x 320 TFT
    • 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7627-2
    • 256RAM
    • 2 MP fixed focus camera
    • 1160 mAh battery with solar panel battery cover
    • EVDO Rev A without Premium Data charge
    • 2.4″ x 4.8″ x .5″, 4.1oz

    PROS

    • Portrait QWERTY is a very efficient layout
    • MSM7627-2 processor, very powerful for a phone with only a QVGA display.
    • Solar panel battery cover would make for great battery life
    • Waiver of forced $10 Premium Data charge

    CONS

    • Small screen size. I would have preferred a 3.1″ or 3.2″ screen with a physical size bump to accommodate screen size, with an increased resolution to HVGA.
    • 2 MP camera is a VERY low resolution.

    Do I think either of these products would be right for me? I won’t lie in that I find them both compelling. When I consider the Kyocera Echo, the idea that I could have dual screens is very, very tempting. For someone like me who lives their life browsing on their phone the more screen real estate the better, not to mention being able to run TWO separate apps simultaneously. One massive negative to me is the lack of multi touch support in the web browser and Google maps applications, this has the potential to kill everyday productivity. However this is something that can be remedied in a software update. Other negatives that get in the way of ownership are the somewhat weak processor for the screen resolution, and the lack of 4G. If I’m going to be forced to pay the $10 premium data charges I’m buying a phone with Sprints 4G Wimax capability.

    When it comes to the Samsung Replenish I’m also very tempted, because I’ve always loved the portrait QWERTY layout with touchscreen. Its a very efficient layout that in my opinion is the best for doing everyday work from, however the screen size is just too small. The other issue I have is the 2.0MP fixed focus rear shooter, in today’s market 2.0MP is just unacceptable. Even some feature phones have better camera specs, and that is just pathetic. At least do a 3.0MP, but a 5.0MP is what is expected. Something notable to keep an eye on is that the first gen MSM7627 had an Adreno 200 like the first gen Snapdragon, but I’m unfamiliar with this new MSM7627-2. Does it have an Adreno 200? Or could it have an Adreno 205 like the second gen Snapdragon? There is also the added bonus of the waiver of the forced premium data plan at $10 per month, a savings of $120 per year, or $240 over the life of the contract? Heck ya! But in the end I wonder why Samsung and Sprint would think that just because people have an eco-friendly mindset, that they would be okay with a 2.0MP camera and tiny screen? This doesnt make sense to me, they should have made something that was more of a Droid Pro competitor that was eco-friendly. That way people would buy the handset because it was good, with the added bonus that it was eco-friendly.

    In the end, neither of these handsets have really what it takes to become my primary handset. There are just too many features missing. I want to love them, but in the end there is just too much lacking.

    What do you guys think? Am I being to rough on them and expecting too much? How many of you are thinking of picking one of these up? Let us know in the comments.

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