Sprint: Ultra rugged Kyocera Torque arrives March 8

The $99 Android smartphone features military-grade protection against water, dust, impacts, and extreme temperatures.

The rugged Kyocera Torque Lynn La/CNET

Sprint today announced that the rugged and waterproof Kyocera Torque will arrive on March 8. Priced at $99 with a two-year service agreement, the Torque is the first "Ultra rugged" 4G LTE handset with Sprint Direct Connect push-to-talk service.

Previously introduced back in January, the Kyocera smartphone features a 4-inch IPS display and dual-core processor. Whereas the typical rugged smartphone is hampered by older versions of the platform, the Torque runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This is good news for anyone who has grown accustomed to the Holo theme of Android and its added feature set.

Hardware details for the Kyocera Torque also include a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and a respectable 2,500mAh battery. What makes this phone more rugged than others of its kind? In addition to withstanding 10 straight days of 95 percent humidity, the Torque can take six hours of heavy dust, or submersion in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. Plan on braving the elements with the phone? I'm willing to bet it lasts longer than you do; The Kyocera Torque is rated to run in -4 degrees to 122 degrees F (-20 to 50 C) temperatures for three hours.

Another standout feature in the phone is the Kyocera Smart Sonic Receiver, a "proprietary tissue-conduction audio technology" transmits sound directly to your eardrum and inner ear through body tissues. If you're the construction worker type who spends long hours in freezing temperatures with jackhammers pounding all day, this might the phone of choice.

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