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Motorola and Samsung unleash ruggedized Android phones

Aug 15, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Hot on the heels of news that it will be acquired by Google, Motorola Mobility announced a 1GHz, Android 2.3-ready “plus” version of a rugged phone it first released last year. The 3.7-inch Defy+ will go head to head with a 3.6-inch Samsung Xcover announced last week in Germany, since both handsets are said to offer IP67-rated resistance to water, dust, and scratches.

Just slightly overshadowed by today's news that Motorola Mobility has agreed to be acquired by Google for $12.5 billion, Motorola announced a "Defy+" update to its Motorola Defy smartphone.

Announced last September with Android 2.1, and and made available later that fall on TMobile, the Defy followed an earlier rugged Android phone called the Motorola i2. (In May of this year, Motorola also introduced a lower-end, ruggedized Motorola Titanium phone, which like the i2 offers support for Sprint's iDEN-ready Nextel Direct Connect push-to-talk service.)

Motorola Defy+, apparently showing off its IP67 resistance to bubbles

(Click to enlarge)

The Defy+ is much the same as the Defy, but now offers a faster, 1GHz processor of unknown origin and sports Android 2.3. (Motorola didn't mention the processor or clock rate of its previous Defy, but it was revealed to be a Texas Instrument (TI) OMAP3610 system-on-chip (SoC) clocked to 800MHz.)

The Defy+ also supplies a slightly more powerful 1700mAH battery. The battery can last up to 7.1 hours with talk, and 16 days in standby, claims the company.

Aside from some new software (see below) other specs appear to be the same. Like the Defy, the Defy+ offers a water resistant, scratch resistant, and dust proof design in compliance with the IP67 standard, says Motorola. The 3.7-inch, 854 x 480 pixel (WVGA) touchscreen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass, and is accompanied by accelerometers as well as ambient light and proximity sensors.

Like the Defy, the Defy+ is equipped with 512MB of RAM and 2GB of internal flash. A 2GB microSD card will also be offered for the phone's 32GB-ready slot, says Motorola.

The Defy+ supports WCDMA and GSM networks, including HSDPA 7.2Mbps and HSUPA 3G services, says Motorola. The phone is said to be further equipped with 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, aGPS, and FM radio.

A five-megapixel camera with LED flash and digital zoom is available, along with a microUSB 2.0 port, a 3.5mm headset jack, and dual microphones. The Defy+ still measures 4.21 x 2.32 x 0.53 inches (107 x 59 x 13.4mm) and weighs 4.16 ounces (118 grams), says Motorola. Accessories are said to include a vehicle dock, Bluetooth headset and car kit, portable power, and car charger.

Pre-installed apps and services on the Defy+ include CardioTrainer, Motorola Media Link, and the Zinio e-magazine service. Also available are Google apps and services including Google Talk and Google Maps 5.0 with Navigation, says the company.

The Android 2.3 stack is accompanied by Motorola's MotoBlur UI skin, says the company. With the Google acquisition due as early as the end of the year, the Defy+ may well be one of the last new products announced with MotoBlur. (Noted one commenter at the end of a ThisIsMyNext article on the acquisition, "Google hated MotoBlur so much that they spent $12.5 billion just to get rid of it.")

The Motorola Defy+ will be available in Asia, Europe, and Latin America starting in early fall, says Motorola. There was no word about U.S. availability.

 Samsung Galaxy XCover

While Motorola has long focused on the rugged handset market, Samsung's new Galaxy XCover (pictured) appears to be its first ruggedized Android model. Announced last week with minimal details in Germany, — as reported by Engadget and others — the Samsung Galaxy XCover appears to compete directly with the Motorola Defy, albeit with somewhat more modest specs than the new Defy+.

Like the Defy+, the Galaxy XCover offers IP67 resistance to water, dust, and scratches, says Samsung. In fact, the Xcover can keep on ticking after being submerged in water to a depth of one meter for up to half an hour, says the company.

No details were offered on processor or memory, but given the "Galaxy" name, a 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor is likely. The 3.6-inch (9.27cm) display is slightly smaller than that of the Defy+, and considerably smaller than the four-inch touchscreens on the mainstream Galaxy S phones. Like the Defy+, however, it offers scratch-resistant tempered glass, says Samsung.

The phone supplies a 3.2-megapixel camera with an LED photo light, which can be used as a flashlight or signal light, says Samsung. The only wireless features mentioned are HSDPA and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The Android 2.3 phone is available with Samsung Social Hub 2.3, says the company.

Samsung Galaxy XCover
(Click to enlarge)

The Samsung Galaxy Xcover will be available in October, says Samsung. It is unclear if it will introduced anywhere outside of Germany, where it will likely square off with the Defy+.

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