updated 04:42 am EDT, Wed May 9, 2012
New budget Android phones
Kyocera has expanded its Android lineup with two new models: the Rise, a QWERTY slider; and the Hydro, a water-resistant handset. Electronista took the opportunity to handle both of the new Android 4.0 devices, which are aimed at the entry-level smartphone market.
The Japanese company is not known for excellent build quality, but we were surprised to find that the Rise brings a solid feel that reminds us of the Motorola Droid family. The familiarity is likely due to the slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which provides a comfortable typing experience with a sizable gap between each key to avoid mistypes.
The Rise's display brings a modest 480x320 resolution, though we liked its wide viewing angles, thanks to IPS technology, and decent brightness. The 1GHz Qualcomm processor obviously does not compete with many of the faster quad- and dual-core offerings, though it handles Android 4.0 with enough haste to satisfy most entry-level buyers.
The Hydro brings a similar heft and housing volume, with a slightly thinner build, however it omits a QWERTY slider in favor of a water-resistant housing. The company claims it can continue to function after a half-hour submersion at depths of up to three feet, which, if true, may prove to be more rugged than the Droid Razr.
The company has yet to announce carriers, launch dates or pricing for either phone, but we expect both handsets to be affordable.