October 1, 2014

The Kyocera Echo: Dead on Arrival?

I have been of a mind since I started writing that there is a purpose for each Android phone that has been made to date; that there are those who would choose that device and enjoy it. You have your superphone users, those who are only interested in something just over the feature phone line, and the budget users among others. I have always supported that each device has a home. Unfortunately, I was proven wrong last night at Sprint’s release of the Kyocera Echo.

Where do I begin? Specs are probably a good place to start. The device is running essentially the same hardware as the Nexus One, with it’s 1GH Snapdragon and 512MB of Ram. The 1GB onboard storage is kind of nice, but not much in the grand scheme. The Snapdragon WAS a decent processor in the Nexus, but it’s GPU troubles place it out of the superphone category with competition like the Mytouch 4G or even the G2 or Droid X. Looking at this phone that can’t really compare to it’s now year old room mate at Sprint, the Evo. Combined with it’s lack of Wi-Max and no battery life to speak of, what’s the redeemer here?

The Echo appears to be running the closest thing to Stock 2.2.1 possible given the circumstances. There are six apps that have been optimized for the dual screen optimization, and the rest of the OS appears without any kind of overlay. 2.2.1 is still a little aged, given the 2.3′s SDK has been out for a little bit now, and to date Kyocera has not updated their previous Android devices, so I don’t see this really going to 2.3. I suppose this is not really a redeemer… sorry guys.

The battery, now their’s a nail in the coffin. The phone comes with two batteries, and a special charger that allows you to charge the phone and the spare battery at the same time. There were those at the event that saw this is a good thing. I will remind you they were serving alcohol. Now, when I walk into a store, and the associate offers me a second battery, I consider that to be polite and may even consider it, since I have been known to abuse my phones. When the manufacturer hands you a second battery with the undertone of “You’re going to need this” that’s a red flag.

So, underwhelming specs, an upgrade path that could be described as unlikely at best, and battery life that is likely to resemble my old Samsung Blackjack. There’s no real reason this device exists right now. If anything, it is as if David Blaine’s real magic trick last night was to pull this device from October 2009, where it would have been celebrated. Instead, since it’s being sold at $199 on contract, I believe the Kyocera Echo is already swimming with the fishes in David’s illusion tank.

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