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Summary:

Sprint today announced two new Google Android phones with QWERTY hardware keyboards aimed at businesses: the XPRT and Titanium, both built by Motorola. Each of the two handsets has (or lacks) features that an enterprise might want to keep its resources productive and secure.

motorola-titanium-featured

Sprint today announced two new Android phones built by Motorola and aimed at businesses. Dubbed the XPRT and Titanium, both handsets offer a full QWERTY hardware keyboard under a multi-touch display. The XPRT launches June 5 for $129.99 with contract, while pricing and availability of the Titanium is not yet set. The XPRT offers GSM network capability, making it an option for business travelers, while the Titanium is ruggedized and includes support for Direct Connect two-way radio service. While businesses may show interest in the duo, I question some design choices on both.

Before clarifying that thought, here’s a look at the specifications of each. First the XPRT:

  • 1 GHz processor, 2 GB ROM, 512 MB RAM, 2 GB microSD card included
  • 3.1-inch, HVGA (480×320 resolution) display
  • CDMA / EV-DO / GSM
  • 5 megapixel camera, dual-led flash
  • 3G mobile hotspot capable
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, GPS

The XRPT handset runs on Android 2.2, which makes sense due to that version’s improved capabilities for Microsoft Exchange and support for remote data wipes. Also included is Motorola’s MotoBlur function, which I wouldn’t think businesses would want. In my experience, the social networking widgets in MotoBlur hit both the battery and the data connection too often. I’d rather have my enterprise resources using valuable, and often limited, 3G bandwidth on enterprise solutions, not social networking bits.

Having said that, the Titanium has an even more questionable design choice: it runs on Android 2.1, or Eclair. Here are the Titanium specs, many of which are similar to the XPRT:

  • 3.1-inch, HVGA (480×320 resolution) display
  • CDMA / EV-DO
  • 5 megapixel camera, 4x zoom, dual-led flash
  • 2 GB microSD card included
  • 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, GPS
  • Support for Direct Connect services
  • Certified to Military Specification 810G for dust, shock, vibration, low pressure, solar radiation, high temperature and low temperature

The Titanium is clearly an update to last year’s Motorola i1 and both the Direct Connect and ruggedized features will appeal to field workers. But I simply can’t understand why a phone targeted at work users, or anyone else at this point, is built upon Android 2.1. It’s likely that the Titanium uses a modest processor. Sprint hasn’t specified which CPU is used in the Titanium, but a weak one would actually provide even more reason to use Android 2.2.

Google improved the performance of Android with version 2.2, so most apps will run faster, even on a low- or mid-tier processor. More important to businesses though, Android 2.2 brings enterprise-specific features that I’d think would benefit businesses and field workers. The Titanium won’t benefit from Android 2.2’s better Microsoft Exchange support, improved passcode security and remote data wipe functionality; all things that a business should want in their smartphone. The data wipe is actually perfect for phones that are primarily being used out in the field. Color me stumped on this one.

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  1. I also question the inclusion of cameras, many enterprises actively discourage the carrying of cameras in the workplace.

    1. Valid point as RIM used to offer two models of many handsets, with the only difference being one had cameras and one did not.

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