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Rugged Kyocera Torque Hits Sprint March 8 for $99.99

At the end of January, Sprint announced that the rough-and-tough Kyocera Torque would soon be available on its network. Now, the carrier has confirmed that the ultra-rugged 4G LTE Android device will be available beginning March 8th for $99.99.

Whether you’re gliding across the waves with a jet ski or hitting the snowy slopes, Sprint has touted Kyocera’s Torque as a smartphone built to battle the elements. The 4-inch device can handle being dropped up to 26 times, doused in water for 30 minutes, and can withstand extreme temperatures such as -22°F among other trials.

Packed with low to mid-range specs, the Kyocera Torque features  a 4-inch screen with a resolution of 800 x 480, a dual-core 1.2-GHz  Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, a micro SD card slot and a 2,500 mAh Lithium Ion battery.

The Torque comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box, which is two generations behind Google’s most recent OS upgrades to Jelly Bean. So at least at launch, you won't be able to enjoy features like Google Now and offline voice typing.

This rugged smartphone is field ready in other ways. The Torque supports Sprint’s Direct Connect push-to-talk service and Kyocera’s Smart Sonic Receiver audio technology, which uses vibrations to transmit sounds directly to the user’s ear.  With this technology, which replaces the need for a traditional speaker, Kyocera promises that sound will come through in even the noisiest environments.

Kyocera’s previously released Hydro model can also survive 30 minutes underwater, but doesn’t come with 4G LTE service and has a slightly slower 1GHz processor.  Samsung’s competing Rugby Pro, however, has a slightly faster 1.5-GHz processor but comes with the same screen size and Android OS as the Torque. The Samsung doesn’t promise to withstand 26 drops like Kyocera’s upcoming handset.