Skip to main content

Kyocera Rise and Hydro hands-on: Android 4.0 smartphones for the budget crowd

Kyocera Rise and Hydro hands-on: Android 4.0 smartphones for the budget crowd


Kyocera released the Rise and Hydro today, two new budget smartphones for the US market.

Share this story

Gallery Photo: Kyocera Rise and Hydro hands-on pictures
Gallery Photo: Kyocera Rise and Hydro hands-on pictures

Kyocera's presence in the US smartphone market tripled in size this morning, as the company launched the new Hydro and Rise phones. The two are virtually identical internally: 1GHz Snapdragon processors, 3.5-inch, 480 x 320 IPS displays, 3.2-megapixel rear cameras, and CDMA connectivity (no LTE). Both run near-stock Android 4.0, too, along with four capacitive buttons below the display. Each phone has but one unique feature: the Hydro is waterproof, able to withstand blasting water or immersion in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The Rise isn't waterproof, but it does have a full, four-row landscape QWERTY keyboard that slides out of the phone.

We tested out both phones, and though they're decidedly low-end devices both seemed to work pretty well. The Rise's keyboard is spacious and easy to use, and though the Hydro is heftier than many phones, it definitely feels solid. Both were surprisingly zippy, and Android 4.0 worked pretty well; the low-res screens leave a lot to be desired, but they'll probably be enough for anyone who hasn't laid eyes on a high-res smartphone display before.

Both devices are designed in direct response to consumer feedback, Kyocera reps told us. The two most-desired features were waterproofing and a full keyboard, so the company decided to make both. These phones aren't designed to compete with the Galaxy Nexus or the HTC One X — they're meant instead for people who may not already own a smartphone, and are looking to move up without spending a lot of money for specs they don't care about. The phones will be available on both contract plans and prepaid plans on a variety of carriers, though reps wouldn't specify which ones.

We're moving rapidly toward the day when the free-on-contract phone isn't a feature phone or a "messaging phone," but a smartphone. The Kyocera Hydro and Rise may not get us all the way there, but they're certainly at the beginning of a trend we expect to grow quickly.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Not just you

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.