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Sprint trots out rugged Motorola i886

Sprint introduces its first Nextel Direct Connect with a side-sliding QWERTY keyboard.

Motorola i886 Sprint

CES 2011 might be over, but the handset announcements keep on coming. The latest news comes from Sprint, which announced today the addition of the Motorola i886.

Available now for $79.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate, the i886 is the first Nextel Direct Connect mobile with a side-sliding full QWERTY keyboard. The front of the device, meanwhile, features a 2.2-inch, 65,000-color TFT display and alphanumeric keypad.

The phone also meets military specification requirement 810G, meaning it can withstand dust, shock, vibration, low and high temperature, low pressure, and solar radiation.

In addition to the push-to-talk capabilities of Direct Connect, the Motorola i886 offers Bluetooth, GPS, a 2-megapixel camera, an MP3 player, and a preloaded 2GB microSD card (supports up to 32GB cards). The included 1,380mAh battery has a rated talk time of four hours.