Motorola and Sprint introduced the ultra-rugged and appropriately named Motorola Brute i680 on Jan 11.
The clamshell-style phone offers Nextel Direct Connect push-to-talk services and meets military specification 810F for resisting dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity and blowing rain. Which is more than can be said for most of us.
The Brute has an interior and exterior display, measures 2.07 by 3.9 by 1 inches and supports Web browsing and e-mail. It can switch between push-to-talk and a traditional voice call with a single button press and features both Group Connect - for reaching out simultaneously to 20 other Nextel Direct Connect subscribers - and Talkgroup, for collaborating with 200 people at once.
"Motorola Brute, combined with the exclusive Public Safety applications only available on Nextel phones from Sprint, allows public safety personnel to communicate, even if they are out of network range, an irreplaceable communication tool in times of emergency," said Fared Adib, Sprint vice president of product development, in a statement.
The Brute comes with an embedded GPS chip and so can support GPS-based applications, such as turn-by-turn directions.
Also included are Bluetooth connectivity, a 2-megapixel camera with flash, a music player, speaker-phone functionality and a dual microphone, for crisp sound and background noise cancellation. Combined IM, MMS and SMS messaging are supported, and the Brute offers voice-activated dialing and can support a second line.
A microSD slot enables users to boost the Brute's memory by up to 8GB.
"Nextel Direct Connect from Sprint is an invaluable tool for public safety," Charles Werner, a Charlottesville, Va., fire chief quoted in a statement.
"During an emergency, we depend on rugged devices, like Motorola Brute, that can withstand extreme conditions and offer instant communications; this combination is the cornerstone of effectively managing a crisis," Werner continued. "Individuals who work in various harsh environments, such as construction and manufacturing, will find the durability of the device to be critical as well."
The Brute is now available at Sprint stores for $119.99.
Sprint offers Nextel Direct Connect plans with unlimited texting, data, Web browsing and GPS navigation, as well as plans that pool voice minutes for a group to share. Plans begin at $29.99 per month per line, before taxes and surcharges.