What mattered at Mobile World Congress, day 3: S5 apps, tough tablets, and BlackBerry's return

Like at any technology show, the biggest product releases of Mobile World Congress dropped in the first couple of days. But the latter days of an event remain just as interesting. You actually have time (well, a few minutes anyway) to roam the show floor to find hidden gems and underdog products, and you can dig up a few juicy scoops. All of that is just what happened on day 3 of the world's biggest wireless show.

The return of BlackBerry? By now you may have forgotten about BlackBerry, but the former smartphone powerhouse showed up in Barcelona with … Read more

Kyocera takes a stab at the future with quirky concept devices

BARCELONA, Spain -- In the future, the world will be full of wearables and smartphones that can bend whatever way you want -- at least, that's what Kyocera imagines it will be.

At MWC this year, the Japanese phone company showed off some of its quirky concept devices, along with its family of waterproof Hydro smartphones.

Though none of these devices are officially brewing inside Kyocera's R&D arm, they are still enticing to think about it.

In fact, some of these products don't appear to be that far into the future -- like the arced-display … Read more

Splash-proof Kyocera Hydro Plus swims in Cricket's budget waters

With five Hydro devices currently under its belt, Kyocera is no stranger to making waterproof handsets. Ranging from entry-level to midtier, all the Hydro smartphones can be submerged under three feet of water for up to 30 minutes and keep on ticking.

The Hydro Plus, which is saddled with slow 3G speeds and a disappointingly dated Android 4.0 OS, sits at the entry-level end of the spectrum. And while both its specs and overall performance aren't impressive, the handset includes Cricket's unique Muve Music service that's ideal for music lovers, manages to take decent photos for … Read more

Kyocera Hydro XTRM available for T-Mobile business customers, November 20

Already sold on U.S. Cellular and MetroPCS, the dunk- and shockproof Kyocera Hydro XTRM will also be available on T-Mobile beginning November 20.

The device will be T-Mobile's first Kyocera handset, but it'll only be offered through the carrier's business-to-business market.

Aside from being able to survive a meter-deep swim underwater for 30 minutes, the phone also has 4G LTE connectivity and a 4-inch WVGA display.

In addition, it features Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, expandable memory, and a 2,000mAh battery that managed 5.53 hours of continuous video playback during our battery drain test.… Read more

Kyocera launches 70-megawatt solar plant, largest in Japan

Kagoshima in southern Japan is known for its puffing volcano Sakurajima, green tea, and rocket launchpads. Now it has a new superlative -- the country's largest solar plant.

Smartphone maker Kyocera recently launched the Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant, a 70-megawatt facility that can generate enough electricity to power about 22,000 homes.

The move comes as Japan struggles with energy sources as nuclear power plants were shut down after meltdowns hit Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima plant in 2011. … Read more

MetroPCS adds waterproof Kyocera Hydro XTRM to roster

MetroPCS on Friday added its latest Android smartphone, the waterproof and shock-proof Kyocera Hydro XTRM.

Priced at $169.99, the no-contract handset is a rugged Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience designed to take accidents in stride. In addition to standing up to water and the occasional drop, the Hydro XTRM is also dust-proof.

Internally, the Kyocera smartphone is generally lackluster in hardware. The 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor is par for the course in today's entry-level devices; the 5-megapixel camera was unimpressive in CNET's review of the U.S. Cellular version. Other noteworthy details include a … Read more

Trying (and failing) to drown a ruggedized Android phone

Summer is over, but I've been trying to extend those sweet dog days by running around the country looking for ways to contribute to the destruction of a completely innocent smartphone. The fine folks at Kyocera loaned me a sample of their ruggedized, military-grade, Bear Grylls-endorsed 4G Android phone, the Torque, with a license to stretch it to the limits without any fear of destroying it.

Either I will break this phone, or I will be broken trying. … Read more

Verizon's sleek, waterproof Kyocera Hydro Elite

With every new waterproof Hydro device, Kyocera adds incremental, but necessary improvements. But with the $49.99 on-contract Hydro Elite from Verizon, I'm glad to see Kyocera made even bigger strikes.

True, Verizon offers plenty of great, if not better, non-waterproof phones as well, and the handset's still hampered by some of the same problems often seen in Kyocera smartphones--a slow processor and average call quality, for example. But its notable spec improvements make it the best Hydro phone Kyocera yet.

Living up to its "elite" name, the device sports a more stylish design and an … Read more

Take a dip with the splashproof Kyocera Hydro Edge

Unless you find you and your phone often drenched in water, consider skipping over the Kyocera Hydro Edge.

True, as the successor to the Hydro, the Edge can still survive a good dunking. But while this new iteration includes some welcomed improvements like a bigger 4-inch screen and a 5-megapixel camera (the original featured only a 3.2-megapixel shooter), the device still runs on 3G and has a a rather slow 1GHz processor.

If having an affordable smartphone that is able to survive multiple spills and dips is important (either from the water you encounter at the beach or simply … Read more

Dive into the waterproof, shock-resistant Kyocera Hydro XTRM

Rest assured, it's no fun dropping your smartphone in water. Whether you have an active lifestyle and go swimming often, or you're just milling around the kitchen, once your device hits water, it's often the beginning of the end.

Fortunately, the Kyocera Hydro XTRM (pronounced "extreme") isn't only dustproof and shock-resistant, it's waterproof as well -- meaning it doesn't have to spend a night in a bowl full of uncooked rice in case it accidentally takes a dive in the ocean.

But even with its splashproof features and low price, the Hydro … Read more