Moto i886: iDEN Phone has 2 Keyboards, PTT, and MotoTalk

This Motorola phone just went through the FCC, and the user manual was submitted along with the other required documents.  The Motorola i886 is definitely not your usual Android phone.

iDEN is a Motorola-designed wireless network standard used for push-to-talk (PTT) phones.  It is TDMA-based (Time Division Multiple Access), rather than the better known GSM or CDMA wireless network standards.  TDMA is a 2G cellular technology, so don’t expect blazing speeds from this phone.  It’s for those who need PTT, and this particular model also supports MotoTalk.  That’s the standard used by Motorola’s Family Radio Service devices, the successor to walkie-talkies.

While this is not Motorola’s first iDEN phone with Android (that honor belongs to the Moto i1), the i886 has another fascinating feature seen on few (or any) Android phones: two keyboards.  There’s a slide-out QWERTY for your applications, and then there’s a numeric keypad on the outside.

A keypad on the outside is not a plus with an Android phone, since it takes up valuable screen real estate.  But that’s how this one’s designed.  Note the interesting set of keys as well.   The standard Android Home, Menu, and Back keys surround the more traditional mobile phone controls (Talk, OK, End).

But what’s this?  Instead of a Search key, the lower-left button in the special key array is labeled Notifications!  The user manual says it’s to “Open notifications.”  And that Navigation “Key” is a ring around the OK button.  You’re going to need both Navigation and OK, because the phone doesn’t appear to have touch sensors in the screen.  Then again, given that PTT phones are usually found at work sites rather than offices, an expensive touchscreen doesn’t really fit.  Except, take a look at the i1:

The i1 looks a lot more like an Android phone, doesn’t it?  And it does have a touchscreen.  I’d like to know what version of Android the i886 is packing.  Will it have Android 1.5 (Cupcake) like the i1?  Does it have Android Market?  I would suspect not, as the name “Google” did not appear once in the user guide.  (And yes, it’s all over the place in the i1 manual.)

Other features of the i886 are a 2-megapixel camera, GPS, accelerometer, Bluetooth, a 3.5 mm headset jack, and a microSD card slot.  It looks like it’s headed to Sprint or Boost Mobile, but there’s a lot we don’t know.  Such as who would want an Android PTT phone with no Google apps?

Source: FCC

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