The Motorola i1, announced today, is built for two things: push to talk conversations and taking abuse. In a market teeming with more and more Android handsets, this one stands out as the first that taps into Sprint's iDen network, allowing it to function as much as a walkie talkie as a phone.
From a design standpoint, at least, the i1 is pretty badass. Like the rugged laptops we review, it's been tested in accordance with military specifications. So, as befits an outdoorsy push-to-talk phone, it's designed to withstand drops, vibration, blowing rain, humidity, temperature extremes, and even salt fog.
Its 3.1-inch touchscreen, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, GPS, 5-MP camera-and-camcorder, stereo Bluetooth, and Swype keyboard are all welcome features, too.
And yet the i1 is far from the most advanced Android device. It runs the now-stale Android 1.5 (although Motoblur is on board). And because it runs on the Nextel National Network it's not a 3G-enabled phone. That might be why Motorola chose to bundle Opera's Mini 5 web browser, which is known for delivering fast speeds.
The i1 won't be for everyone, but it's not designed everyone. It's for Android-loving smart phone shoppers looking to keep in constant contact, especially when outdoors.