I went to meet the lovely people at Kyocera, who I’ve only previously known for their printers, about their phones. To be honest I was surprised. This is a company that have been in existence since 1959 and have 70,000 employees and they have been profitable every single year of their 55-year history.
As I live in the UK I wasn’t aware that Kyocera actually made any phones, but they currently have 16 phones in Japan. They’re the third biggest phone company there behind Apple and Sharp. They also have 9 models on sale in the USA.
They specialise in ruggedised phones and hit the military standard (MIL-STD-810G) meaning that you can do, well, this with them..
When I was told that they’d been in the smartphone market for 15 years I wanted to know quite why they’d taken so long to launch this, the TORQUE, in Europe. A rep told me that..
Kyocera wants to make sure that they have perfected and grown into a market properly and successfully before moving onto another.
You get a sense of quality and passion from everything they do. Everything is done in that “Japanese way” with phones rigorously tested before going live. This, the TORQUE (the one you saw dropped onto the wooden display) marks their entry into Europe.
This phone, like all of their handsets, is made in their own Japanese factories to an exacting standard. It’s not a Chinese model with a chunky case, this is Japanese through and through. It’s powered by Android 4.4 (KitKat) on a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8928 quad-core 1.4GHz CPU and comes with clove functionality out of the box. This is built with construction workers, maintenance staff and other tough jobs in mind. The GUI has been altered slightly in parts so that it’s friendly for gloved hands. Wake the device, unlock the screen and then use your gloved hand to unlock and make a call easily.
Kyocera also showed how those wearing big ear-defenders can still take calls on their handset whilst wearing them. Placing the phone against the ear-defenders will send vibrations through to your ears. You’ll hear the call as normal and can communicate even whilst wearing your chunky ear-defenders. Pretty good idea that. It’s called a “Smart Sonic Receiver” and works using a ceramic actuator.
The 4G-enabled handset has a 3100mAh battery and there’s wireless charging too, so you don’t need to fiddle about with cables if you’ve got big manly hands like me. It comes with a 4.5″ HD (1280×720) screen which works when wet. Around back is a 8 megapixel camera with auto-focus, LED flash and auto-focus. Up front is a 2 megapixel unit for video calls and selfies when you’re driving your digger.
It’s not just builders, road-workers and the like. Those who enjoy extreme sports and want to actually strap their phone to a bike or hand-glider can do so without fear that the device will end up broken by the time they get home. It is, of course, water, dust and drop proof too. You can dunk it in up to 1.5 metres of water for up to 30 minutes.
WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC plus 2GB RAM plus 16GB on-board storage with a microSD slot also feature. It also has a push-to-talk feature, which will be remapped to a “action key” in Europe, and an eco-mode to prolong battery life.
Pricing and availability information to come, but by the sounds of it Kyocera will be launching more handsets in the UK soon.
KYOCERA ENTERS EUROPEAN MOBILE PHONE MARKET WITH LAUNCH OF NEW ULTRA-RUGGED 4G LTE SMARTPHONE “TORQUE”
Kyoto, Japan – Kyocera Corporation (NASDAQ, NYSE: KYO, TOKYO:6971) a Japan-based global enterprise engaged in numerous high-tech fields, announced today the launch of the new TORQUE (KC-S701) – an ultra-rugged 4G LTE smartphone certified with the United States Military Standard (MIL-STD-810G) in 11 categories*1. Marking the company’s entrance in the European mobile phone market, the new model is the latest in Kyocera’s global rugged smartphone series and builds on Kyocera’s strength and reputation for ruggedized, waterproof handsets that meet the real-world needs of users. The new TORQUE will be available this spring starting in Germany and France and can be purchased SIM-free by enterprise users and consumers.
The TORQUE smartphone possesses high durability*2 against water immersion, dust, shock, salt fog and humidity among its Military Standard 810G profiles. Ideal for use in challenging settings, the phone’s touchscreen can be operated when wet or with non-specialized gloves and the handset features Kyocera’s proprietary, award-winning Smart Sonic Receiver for improved audio even in the loudest environments – making this device ideal for enterprise customers that have employees working in tough outdoor environments and extreme work conditions. It is ideally suited to big and small companies including construction, utilities, transportation, healthcare, public safety and more. Built-in security and encryption keeps users’ most sensitive documents protected, and TORQUE supports virtually all the main MDM solutions available on the market. The rugged TORQUE is also a great option for individual users who enjoy outdoor sports, lead active lives, or are just tired of worrying about damaging a fragile smartphone in any of life’s many minor mishaps.
“Kyocera is committed to building high-quality devices that stand up to real-world scenarios and that allow our customers to be productive at work and on-the-go anywhere, no matter the external environment or harsh conditions they have to face,” said Takashi Nohara, General Manager of Kyocera’s Communications Equipment Sales Group. “We believe durability is a value for all business people.”
The TORQUE comes equipped with the award-winning Smart Sonic Receiver technology which uses both sound and vibrations to transmit voice, allowing users to hear better even in noisy environments such as construction sites, noisy streets, train stations and more. This proprietary feature from Kyocera provides clear sound by replacing the traditional speaker with a technology that utilizes the phone’s whole display to transmit sound through vibrations on the glass panel. The handset also has two high-volume (>100db) speakers at the base of the unit to allow hands-free calling and two push-to-talk (PTT) apps come pre-installed (collaboration with Voxer and Zello). The handset also supports Qi wireless battery charging (charging base sold separately).
Sprayed or immersed in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Rated to IPX5 /
Exposure to powder dust for six hours straight (8.9± 1.3m/sec., 10.6± 7g/m3). Rated to IP6X.
Dropped at 26 angles from 1.22-meter height onto plywood.
Horizontal, vertical and sideways vibrations for one hour (20-2,000Hz).
Exposure of 1,120W/m2 for 24 hours straight.
95% humidity for 8 hours a day for 10 consecutive days; 45% humidity for 16 hours a day for 10 consecutive days.
-21° to 50°C for an operating unit for three hours.
-30° to 60°C for a non-operating unit for four hours.
57.11kPa/4,572 meters (altitude) for two hours.
Exposure for a complete 48 hour cycle; this cycle included 24 hours exposure to salt fog followed by 24 hours drying time.
Shockproof to handle unexpected drops by users, the smartphone’s design incorporates urethane parts that provide impact- and shock-resistance while also allowing for a solid grip.
The handset also recognizes the difference between bare and gloved fingers. Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation Technology*3 allows users to talk, text, open and operate apps while wearing non-specialized gloves and even when the screen is wet. A special widget offers popular settings and apps and is uniquely designed with large icons for easy navigation with gloved hands and with high contrast for bright environments outdoors.
TORQUE is waterproof, meaning that it is ready for work in wet environments such as around standing water, hoses, sprinklers, sinks and in dirty places where the phone may need to be rinsed. Kyocera has launched over 50 waterproof mobile phones in Japan and North America since 2008; and since launching its first ruggedized phone in the U.S. in 2010, Kyocera has continued to develop technology to enhance mobile phone durability and has become the leading rugged-device manufacturer in that market.
Kyocera has positioned itself as a leader in the ruggedized smartphone segment in Japan and North America, and now aims to bring these advantages to users in Europe with primary product launches in Germany and France.
TORQUE (KC-S701) Specifications:
SIZE: 136 x 68 x 13.5mm
TALK TIME: 4G LTE/3G/Edge: Up to 27 hours*4 – GSM: Up to 17 hours*4
STANDBY TIME: 3G/Edge: Up to 1,000 hours*4 – GSM: Up to 950 hours*4 – 4G LTE/3G/Edge: Up to 810 hours*4
BATTERY TYPE: 3100mAh Lithium ion (Li-ion) – Non-removable – Wireless Charging (Qi-enabled)
DISPLAY: SIZE: 4.5”, HD (1280 x 720) – Wet/Glove-Touch Functionality*5
CAMERA/VIDEO: 8MP camera with video, digital zoom, LED flash and auto-focus. 2MP front-facing camera for video calling
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android™ 4.4 (Kit Kat)
CHIPSET: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ MSM8928 Quad-core 1.4 GHz processor
SIM card type: nano SIM
SAR: Head 0.556w/kg Body 0.537w/kg