Sprint Launches Kyocera DuraXT Rugged, Push-to-Talk Phone

Sprint has introduced Kyocera's DuraXT rugged phone offering push-to-talk functionality and durability for extreme environments.

Workers that rely on push-to-talk devices to collaborate on the job have a new 3G option. Sprint has introduced Kyocera Communications' DuraXT phone to allow first responders and military personnel to maintain push-to-talk connectivity on the company's 3G CDMA network in harsh working conditions.

The DuraXT is suitable for users in industries such as construction, emergency services, security and transportation.

It operates on Sprint's Direct Connect network, the carrier's national push-to-talk service that allows up to 200 simultaneous callers. Direct Connect features a push-to-talk chirp to provide confirmation that a call was transmitted. The service also offers availability notification allowing users to be notified when a user is free. Callers can turn off the Direct Connect push-to-talk button to conserve the battery charge.

Announced on June 11, the DuraXT unit features a rugged, clamshell form factor and rubber Dura-Grip material so that it won't slip out of workers' hands in wet conditions. The DuraXT can withstand exposure to up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. It will not operate under water, however.

Part of the Dura Series line of phones for extreme work environments, the DuraXT costs $69.99 with a two-year agreement after a $50 rebate.

On May 8 at CTIA Wireless 2012, Kyocera introduced the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) waterproof Hydro, which conforms to the Ingress Protection Ratings IPx5 and IPx7 for water resistance.

Kyocera's Dura Series also includes the DuraMax, DuraCore and DuraPlus models, which Sprint launched on Jan. 31. Unlike the clamshell design of the new DuraXT, the DuraPlus is candy-bar-shaped with a flat bottom for vehicle mounts.

The DuraXT's 1,360mAh battery can last for eight hours of talk time. It meets the military standard 810G, which allows the phone to withstand dust, shock, vibration and blowing rain. It can also survive solar radiation, salt fog and humidity.

In addition, the phone also features a "robust" front-ported speakerphone for emergency situations, according to Kyocera. The DuraXT also offers automatic speech recognition.

Users can connect a bar-code scanner through Bluetooth to scan patient IDs, drivers' licenses or products during shipping. For workers who may need to store large files on a mobile device, the DuraXT includes a 32GB expandable memory card slot and a 1GB microSD card.

The DuraXT's 2-inch QVGA display is high-contrast and transflective for readability in sunlight.

With its clamshell look, the DuraXT has a design that's similar to the push-to-talk Samsung Convoy 2 on Verizon Wireless' network. The DuraXT weighs 5.3 ounces compared with the 3.9-ounce weight of the Samsung device.

The DuraXT operates on Sprint's 3G CDMA network. Sprint is switching customers from the iDEN Nextel National Network to Direct Connect as the carrier prepares to shut down iDEN by June 20, 2013.

Workers in industries such as emergency response and transportation will be able to receive critical Web alerts over Sprint's 3G network, according to Kyocera.

The "walkie-talkie" services are used by firefighters, emergency medical technicians, job site foremen and construction workers. Security teams also rely on push-to-talk devices at sporting events and delivery drivers also use phones such as the DuraXT, Kyocera reported.