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Sprint launches first CDMA push-to-talk phones

The Kyocera DuraMax and DuraCore will offer push-talk service in rugged flip phone designs. The handsets are due in the fourth quarter of this year.

Kyocera DuraMax

Sprint shed more light on the future of its Direct Connect service today when it announced two CDMA devices that will support the push-to-talk (PTT) feature. The Kyocera DuraMax and DuraCore will launch in the fourth quarter of this year with a yet-to-be-named Motorola handset set following shortly after.

From the outside, the Kyocera handsets should appeal to long-time Nextel fans. The flip designs sport rubber skins for extra durability and both devices are certified to military specifications for dust, shock, and vibration. The DuraMax goes a little further by adding protection for blowing rain, temperature extremes, and immersion in water. According to Kyocera, it will withstand a dunking in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

Kyocera DuraCore Kyocera

Both models offer strictly functional feature sets. You'll find Bluetooth, color internal and external displays, a full duplex speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, and organizer options. The headset jacks are 2.5mm--we'd prefer a standard 3.5mm port--but the DuraMax also has a 3.2-megapixel camera and a MicroSD slot that can support cards up to 32GB (a 1GB card will come in the box).

As mentioned, both phones will support Sprint's new CDMA-based PTT service, along with Land Mobile Radio interoperability, simultaneous PTT and data, and user availability notifications (international PTT service should come next year). Sprint announced earlier this year that it would roll its Direct Connect services over to CDMA in advance of the promised 2013 shut-down of its iDEN network.