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Moto Intros Android Push To Talk Phone

The Wi-Fi enabled Motorola i1 smartphone's features include document viewing and syncing with Microsoft Word and Powerpoint.
The first Android-based push-to-talk mobile phone is making its debut at this week's CTIA WIRELESS show in Las Vegas. Built by Motorola for Sprint's Nextel Direct Connect network, the iDEN handset follows in the 17-year tradition of Nextel's popular push-to-talk devices.

Called the Motorola i1, the device has Wi-Fi, a 3.1-inch touchscreen, a 5-megapixel flash camera, the Opera Mini 5 browser, and access to thousands of apps.

"As the first Nextel Direct Connect Android smartphone, Motorola i1 with Wi-Fi offers a powerful tool ," said Fared Adib, vice president, product development at Sprint, in a statement. "With rugged durability (theMotorola i1) gives push-to-talk customers a compelling smartphone that can withstand some of the harshest environments."

The phone's solid body construction meets military specifications to protect against shock, dust, vibration, and blowing rain. While Nextel's push-to-talk phones have sold across virtually all population segments, construction workers and other outdoor laborers in particular have been users of the phones. Callers can connect to other Nextel Direct Connect subscribers in less than a second by pushing a single button.

Users can manage e-mails, calendars, or view multimedia and still see who is calling them regardless of what application they are in.

The i1's advanced smartphone features include document viewing and syncing with Microsoft Word and Powerpoint. The camera has geo-tagging and panoramic capabilities. A microSD card enables video to be recorded and stored for future viewing from the i1.

Motorola is a member of Google's Open Handset Alliance, which can assist developers in creating new apps for the i1 phone. Developers can also utilize Motorola's global developer MOTODEV program.

Sprint said it will offer the phone starting this summer.

Nextel rode its once-innovative push-to-talk feature to record sales and profits before Sprint acquired the company. However, Sprint encountered difficulty melding the Nextel unit into its networks and has written off nearly all of the $30 billion it paid to acquire Nextel in 2004.

After losing market share in recent years, Motorola began concentrating on Google's Android platform and has begun to regain some of its market share in recent months.

As the U.S. smartphone market grows this year, Apple and Research in Motion will see their shares fall as phones built with Google's Android operating system attract a growing number of users, research firm Canalys said this week.