Kent GermanFormer senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Kyocera introduces the 3250, its first handset to integrate Push To Talk (PTT), a walkie-talkie-like feature powered by Kodiak's Real-Time Exchange Platform (called Touch2Talk, the service will be available in select markets only). Offered by Alltel, the triband (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) phone is built in the style of Kyocera's 3245 but adds a seven-line, 4,096-color display and a dedicated PTT button. At $99 with a two-year contract or $149.95 with a one-year contract, its initial price is reasonable.
Upside: Besides the color screen (albeit capable of showing only 4,096 colors, it's still an improvement over the 3245's grayscale display), the 3250 will include a speakerphone, a Web browser, two-way text messaging, voice dialing, BREW support for downloadable applications, and multiple language settings. Kyocera promises the 3250 will support VoIP platforms such as Tobagi Technology's PacketChat and Qualcomm's BREWChat.
Downside: The 3250 will be offered in select markets for the time being, with more to come in the future, but a limited availability will not be to the phone's advantage. And as Alltel's sole PTT mobile, the 3250 will be the only option for customers wanting that feature.
Outlook: Going head-to-head with the PTT phones and services offered by Sprint and Verizon could prove tough for Alltel and Kyocera. As a new feature, Touch2Talk will undoubtedly have some growing pains.
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