Kyocera Shows Off Android-Based Zio at CTIA 2010

Kyocera is often overlooked at shows such as CTIA 2010 mainly due to its reputation for being a producer of lower-end, entry-level devices that usually fit well into prepaid carriers such as Virgin Mobile and Cricket. But it can be hard to remember the days of over 5 years ago when Kyocera actually did manufacture smartphones. Those days are back, with Kyocera announcing the brand new Zio (pronounced zeye-oh, not zee-oh, as I made the mistake of pronouncing it last night. They really don’t like it when you mispronounce it), an Android device.

Some of the listed features include 3.5 inch WVGA display, trackball, virtual QWERTY keypad, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, Wi-Fi, full HTML browser, voice dial, 3.2MP camera with video, 256MB of internal memory, and MicroSD card support.

Kyocera-Zio5

Frankly, there was nothing I was surprised at when looking at the Zio. It essentially is a entry-level Android device, and the overall look and feel of the phone proved it. The Zio was unresponsive at best. When scrolling through menus I found a great deal of lag. It took multiple tries for me to get to places I wanted to in the phone, and at one point the device I was using froze on me. When using the maps app, only half of the screen showed up. After trying several times to get out of the app, I finally gave up and just found another Zio to use, which worked a little better.

Kyocera was quick to assure me that many of the phone’s quirks were a result of the Zio still being in early stages so that not all of the kinks had been worked out, but I do have a difficult time believing that it’s going to get much more smooth or solid. But I look forward to seeing Kyocera prove me wrong and work out all the quirks.

My favorite part of the phone was its design. It was a thin and light phone with no abrupt edges. The sides of the Zio were completely smooth like a pebble, so that when I would slide my finger across it would move over the edge with ease, without actually catching on anything. It had a very smooth feel, which I would like to see more of in phones.

I’m very glad to see Kyocera making the move back to smartphones. And with this being the first in a long time, not to mention the first Android, it will certainly take a little while for Kyocera to get back in the rhythm. We’ll see if the Zio can pull out all the stops by launch time.

Here are some pics of the phone in action.

Author: Brad Molen

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