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Sprint releases two Moto iDEN phones

Even as it prepares to discontinue Nextel's IDEN network in 2013, Sprint today announced two new Motorola phones with iDEN and Direct Connect.

Motorola i886 Motorola

Though Sprint's iDEN network will go to the mobile graveyard in 2013, the carrier today announced two new Motorola handsets that will see the technology through to its end.

Exact specifications are still to come, but the handsets should have all the markings of an iDEN device, including a rugged design and support for the Direct Connect push-to-talk network. The Android-powered Motorola i886 will offer a slide-out QWERTY keyboard--the first on an iDEN phone--and access to corporate e-mail. The Motorola i686 will be an updated version of the existing Brute i680 flip phone, and will add the capacity to be immersed in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

Motorola Brute i680 James Martin/CNET

Direct Connect users should welcome the news given the minimal attention that Sprint has paid to Nextel's network this year. Since January, Sprint has announced just three iDEN models: the Motorola i1, the Motorola i890, and the aforementioned Brute i680.

The i886 and i686 will be available in the first quarter of next year. Sprint did not announce pricing at this time.