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Kyocera unveils new smartphones and bone-conduction technology

The Japanese mobile manufacturer Kyocera, has been showing off its latest wares at the CTIA wireless show, including two Android smartphones and bone-conduction technology.

First up LandofDroid.com detail two new devices set to grace the US (initially), the Hydro and the Rise. At this stage it’s worth noting that internally, these two device are indistinguishable. Both run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, both use 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive LCD panels, both come running a 1GHz single core Qualcomm processor, sport 512MB of RAM and 2GB of ROM, both have microSD expandability up to 32GBs and both use a 3.2-megapixel camera with an LED flash and video capability at 30fps. Phew.

Kyocera Hydro & Rise

The Hydro is a compact bar, with a plastic and rubberised body, but it also offers IPX5 and IPX7 waterproofing certification, meaning it can take a heavy shower or sit in a metre of water for up to 30 minutes.

Where its counterpart differs, is that the Rise does away with the waterproof certification and in its place offers up a heavy, bulkier body, but one that contains a slide-out landscape hardware QWERTY keyboard. Whether these devices are any good, remains to be seen as there is still no release date scheduled for the US market or anywhere else.

Devices aside, Kyocera had something a little more conceptual to demonstrate to the Engadget team, that could potentially make its way into all manner of mobile devices, if the technology takes off. Bone conduction tackles the shortcomings of the traditional phone earpiece in an unusual way.

Kyocera Bone Conduction

Rather than using a speaker sitting against your ear, which in a loud area can falter, Kyocera’s concept turns the phone’s display into a vibrating sound panel, which when pressed against the face, conducts sound waves through the bones in your skull. The result is said to be a call quality that is dramatically clearer and one that is able to stand up to noisy environments. It sounds interesting and something we’d certainly like to try if it ever makes its way to the UK.

UPDATE (9/5/12): Kyocera have gotten in touch to just set us straight on a few things. Firstly, the company haven’t got any plans to bring either the Hydro or the Rise to the UK market anytime soon, for now they’re staying state-side only. As such you’ll have to look elsewhere for an affordable waterproof/QWERTY slider Android device. Secondly, the technology Kyocera are demonstrating at CTIA is a derivative of bone conduction, called tissue conduction. It effectively vibrates the side of your face to achieve its improvement in clarity.

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