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Push-to-talk phone runs Android

Mar 23, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Motorola announced what it says is the first push-to-talk phone to run Android. The rugged Motorola i1 runs on Sprint's iDEN-ready Nextel Direct Connect service, and offers a 3.1-inch, 480 x 320 touchscreen, up to 32GB of flash, WiFi, a five-megapixel camera, plus the Opera Mini 5 browser running on Android 1.5.

Neither Motorola or Sprint are strangers to the walkie-talkie world. In January of last year, Motorola announced its rugged, Linux-based Tundra VA76r phone (pictured at right), which offers push-to-talk (PTT) capability on 3G networks. The i1 instead uses the Nextel Direct Connect service, which is designed to support PTT. (Sprint claims to offer the world's largest PTT community, with millions of subscribers.)

The Motorola i1 appears to be the final version of an "Opus One" phone that was rumored back in December. The Opus One was said to be Motorola's first Android handset based on its iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) technology. The iDEN technology offers nationwide and international two-way radio, packet data for Internet access, two-way e-mail and text messaging, and wireless modem capabilities.

Motorola i1
(Click to enlarge)

Motorola does not list the phone's processor, but says that a removable 2GB memory card comes standard, and is expandable to 32GB. The Motorola i1 provides a 3.1-inch, 480 x 320 touchscreen, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, a microUSB port, and a 2.5mm headset jack, says the company.

The phone's five-megapixel camera offers autofocus, LED flash, 4 x digital zoom, geo-tagging, panoramic capabilities, and video recording, says Motorola. Oddly, the phone does not seem to offer GPS, which is typically found both on Android phones, as well as other rugged, workmanlike phones and handhelds.

The 4.65 x 2.28 x 0.5-inch (118 x 58 x 12.8mm) phone weighs 4.623 ounces (131.3 g), and meets MIL-STD-810F specifications for protection against dust, shock, vibration, and blowing rain, says Motorola. The i1's 1400mAh battery is touted for a talk time of 210 minutes, as well as four-day standby.

Motorola i1 users can view who is calling on push-to-talk from within any Android app, says the company. Motorola says the phone automatically syncs and integrates office and personal information such as emails, calendar appointments, and contacts. This would suggest that the phone offers the MotoBlur UI stack, which is available on most of Motorola's Android phones. Both the standard Android virtual keyboard and the Swype virtual keyboard are said to be available.

Other software is said to include business tools such as Microsoft Document Viewer, as well as Google Mobile Services, including Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Talk. Android Market access is provided, but there's no Android 2.1, let alone other recent versions — the phone runs on the year-old Android 1.5 ("Cupcake") release.

The i1 is the first Android phone we know of to support the speedy new Opera Mini 5 web browser, which was recently ported to Android. Opera Mini 5 offers Flash-enabled sites "in full view" using WiFi, says Motorola.

Sprint offers developers a free sandbox with iDEN capabilities to test their apps on its Sprint Application Developer Program. Meanwhile, Motorola provides its MotoDev development site for developing apps on the Motorola's Android phones.

Motorola announced that Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" show will be promoting the Motorola i1. Stated Rowe, "Typically, the work I've done tends to take its toll on my phones and I end up breaking 'em on the job. It'll be fun to use one that's not afraid of a little dirt."

Stated Mark Shockley, SVP, Motorola Mobile Devices, "With the Motorola i1, we're excited to offer iDEN users the opportunity to enjoy a feature-rich smartphone with push-to-talk, whether it's for work or play."


The Motorola i1 will be available through Sprint in North America this summer, says the company. Pre-registration is now available at this Sprint page, here. More information on the Motorola i1 may be found at this Motorola page, here.

The Motorola i1 is on display at the Motorola booth at CTIA Wireless show this week in Las Vegas, Central Hall, Booth 409.

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