Kyocera’s Rugged Mobility for the Connected Truck Driver on Display at the Great American Trucking Show

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Trucking and transportation professionals share a passion for being on the road—all 3.5 million of them in the United States alone. That’s a lot of drivers, a lot of hours and a lot of miles, all requiring a lot of focus from the trucking community. While our primary mission at Kyocera is to provide these drivers with the best rugged mobile devices on the market, it is equally important for us to help ensure their safety by minimizing distractions, providing easy and simple communication links with dispatch, and enabling the ability to stay connected with family on long hauls. Road safety is critical to delivering on this goal, and Kyocera is committed to making life as safe as possible for the “Connected Truck Driver.”

It is for these very reasons you’ll find Kyocera at The Great American Trucking Show (GATS) August 24-26, 2017, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. GATS is an interactive and all-encompassing public convention of trucking professionals that attracts more than 500 exhibitors, representing truck, trailer, engine, component and parts manufacturers, among many others. It exists to create an interactive, energizing environment entirely focused on improving the trucking industry—a perfect fit for the Kyocera rugged phone lineup.

During GATS, Kyocera will be exhibiting (booth #11047) and showcasing our rugged lineup, proven to continuously operate in harsh environments where truckers may experience extreme heat and cold, rain, dust or continuous vibration while on the road. Our latest rugged Android device, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO, can perform as the device hub for meeting the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate by downloading a compliant “Hours of Service” application from the Google Play store. At the same time, using compatible hands-free accessories will help with continuous connectivity without distraction and provide safety for drivers. Kyocera is working particularly closely with two partners during the show, including AdvanceTec – a global leader in the design and manufacturing of communications products and solutions for the wireless telecom, two-way radio industry – and TA/Petro Travel Centers, which will also be selling Kyocera’s DuraForce PRO and DuraXV+ (a rugged flip phone) from its booth (#15022) on the show floor.

Showcased in Kyocera’s booth will be AdvanceTec’s Pro-Installed Hands-Free Car Kit and a demonstration of a remote, low-energy Bluetooth Push-to-Talk (PTT) button that can mount on a steering wheel or dashboard to facilitate easy two-way radio communication. Push-to-Talk is a service option for cellular phone networks that enables subscribers to use their phones like walkie-talkies between individuals or groups, all with virtually unlimited range, which is necessary when driving the distance. Meanwhile, the AdvanceTec kit includes a wireless charging cradle, an external speaker that improves sound quality, and, with an optional Palm Mic, allows drivers to use PTT like they use CB radios.

If you plan on attending the show, please stop by our booth (#11047), where Kyocera will be offering special discounts on all of our Connected Truck Driver accessories. Our rugged device lineup is now available in all major cellular carriers. For more information about Kyocera, please visit http://www.kyoceramobile.com/business/ or follow us on our social-media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube).

From Futuristic to Functional: A Look at the Top Trends from CES 2017

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The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was as crazy as you might have imagined it to be, with more than 165,000 attendees in the technology industry converging on Sin City all at once. While I am still trying to catch my breath from all of the meetings, announcements and new products, this year’s CES did not disappoint in terms of highlighting some really cool technology. All sorts of “things,” from refrigerators to hairbrushes to cars, are getting connected to the Internet. And as part of the wireless industry, I couldn’t help but notice that mobile devices are at the core of most of these connections.

After taking a look at the myriad product introductions at CES 2017, there were several trends that stood above the “noise” of the show, including the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, AR/VR, connected cars and robotics. While many of these trends were also front and center last year, they are now becoming more consumer-friendly, cost-efficient, and ready (or much closer to ready) for primetime and mass adoption.

Here are some of the major takeaways from our time at CES 2017:

  • The IoT Revolution is Closer: Mobile is front and center of the Internet of Things (IoT), and many of the products and services showcased at CES this year proved that. While many companies are integrating connectivity and sensors into every day products to make them “smart,” the companies that do so in a way that is seamless, straightforward and provides clear value to consumers will ultimately be successful and drive IoT technologies forward to widespread use. One fun example we saw is Target, which is releasing a line of Bluetooth-connected lamps that use tunable white lights and are remarkably affordable.
  • Driving the Connected and Autonomous Car Forward: While fully autonomous driving is not a reality for 2017, more and more vehicles are implementing technologies such as self-parking and automatic braking that are getting us closer to that reality. Companies like Chrysler, Faraday Future and Honda made headlines at CES this year with impressive vehicle showcases. Chrysler featured the Chrysler Portal Concept car, which is fully autonomous and has face and voice recognition built in. While there is no specific plan for commercialization, some of the types of technologies used in the concept vehicle will be available in the not-too-distant future. Faraday Future was founded in 2014 and since then has developed two major concept cars, including the FF FFZero1, which debuted at CES last year, and the FF91, which debuted this year. The FF91 is a stealth-like luxury electric car that will offer many autonomous features such as self-driving and self-parking in addition to a 378-mile range. And for another really cool innovation, the Honda Riding Assist is a self-balancing concept motorcycle, designed to provide the thrill of riding a motorcycle while reducing the danger quotient. It keeps the rider upright, even at low speeds.
  • Robots Take to the Earth and Sky: Robotics was another popular category at CES this year, from inexpensive drones to robots that cost upwards of $10,000. One drone that caught the attention of many techies this year is UVify’s Draco. This drone is modular, easy to repair, and includes assisted flight modes for learning, making it an especially good option for racing. While it isn’t cheap at $499, its modularity allows for easy fixes if an arm or blade happens to break off from crashing into a tree. Another company, Elephant Robotics, showcased a $10,000 robotic arm launching next month that has integrated computer vision and can reduce the overall cost of machinery that’s used for loading/unloading, packaging and testing by 80 percent.
  • Rugged Holds Real Value: CES runs at a frantic pace, and gets more crowded every year. I can’t tell you how many people I saw drop their phones during the course of the show while trying to get from point A to point B. Most mobile devices announced at CES just don’t have the durability to survive through a major fall or a dunk in the pool. Rugged devices—ones that are durable, waterproof and don’t need additional expensive cases—continue to rise in popularity because of their reliability and cost-savings compared to traditional devices, without compromising on features or performance. While most major wireless-industry announcements will probably be made at Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona, we came away from our time at CES confident that 2017 is full of opportunity for rugged devices.

Now that CES has come and gone, it’s always exciting to see how far the industry will evolve in the coming year. Regardless of what comes next, it is a sure-fire bet that IoT, automotive, robotics and rugged will all continue to be hot topics in 2017 and beyond.

John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

Kyocera Sheds Light on Mobile Innovation with the Solar-Powered Smartphone

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For the second year in a row, Kyocera captivated technology enthusiasts by demonstrating a prototype for a smartphone with a solar-power-generating display at the world’s largest trade show for the mobile industry, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

At last year’s MWC, Kyocera unveiled an early-stage version of the technology but it required two hours of sun exposure to generate only 15 minutes of talk time, leaving it far from the efficiency we considered necessary for commercial viability. What a difference a year makes. Together with partner Sunpartner Technologies, we made great strides in the evolution of the technology since that first demo. This year’s head-turning prototype was (forgive the pun) light-years ahead, requiring only three minutes of sun exposure to generate one minute of talk time. Response from the thousands of industry insiders and experts (and media) gathered at MWC was overwhelmingly positive.

Limited battery life is a leading cause of frustration among smartphone users, many of whom struggle to get through even a single day on a charge. This solar technology is not meant to replace batteries or charging; the best analogy may be hybrid cars. While hybrid cars still require gasoline, their electric motors greatly extend the lives of those tanks of gas. Similarly, augmenting a phone’s battery simply by exposing it to light will extend the phone’s battery life between charges. For hybrid-car owners, this means lower fuel costs, while for mobile-phone owners this means less non-mobile time tethered to a wall plug. Additionally, in the case of a natural disaster, blackout or simply the absence of a plug, the phone user could quickly generate enough power to make a call, send a text, post to social media, find/transmit GPS coordinates, etc.

While potentially a benefit to any phone user who spends time outside, this technology is even more ideally suited to Kyocera’s portfolio of rugged, waterproof devices. Whether used for business (e.g., a construction jobsite) or pleasure (e.g., mountain-biking), many of the ideal use-cases for a ruggedized device happen to be outdoors. Like Kyocera’s Smart Sonic Receiver, Glove & Wet Touchscreen Operation, Military Standard 810G certifications and other features, the solar-charging display is yet another Kyocera innovation designed to allow mobile devices to not just survive, but thrive in the most challenging environments.

For regular updates on Kyocera’s rugged lineup please follow us on Twitter (@kyoceramobile).

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles.  When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

Introducing the First LTE-Capable Feature Phone in North America: The Kyocera DuraXE

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While at CES, Kyocera and AT&T introduced the DuraXE, a flip-style rugged feature phone with Push-To-Talk (PTT) capabilities to enable communication in tough, harsh work environments. What many people do not realize, however, is that the Kyocera DuraXE is the first LTE-capable feature phone available in North America.

So, what does that actually mean for consumers and enterprise workers? A few crucial things, actually:

VoLTE: With support for Voice-Over-LTE (VoLTE), the Kyocera DuraXE enables HD voice, which means sharper, crisper audio, a capability that is especially important for workers at noisy construction sites or loud factories. According to Sascha Segan at PC Magazine, “VoLTE, which can include ‘high-definition’ voice and rich calling services such as IM and voice calling, will eventually replace standard voice calling on all four major networks.”

Smartphone-like functionality: Running on an open-source operating system and featuring a Qualcomm® Snapdragon processor with 1.1 GHz quad-core CPUs, the DuraXE offers functionality typically reserved for smartphones, including creation of Wi-Fi hot spots and support for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) software from industry leaders like SOTI. SOTI and its flagship product, MobiControl, provide needed tools to more than 15,000 enterprise customers and millions of devices managed worldwide, allowing enterprises to optimize and secure their mobile workforces across all platforms to support both corporate-liable and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. DuraXE is the first ruggedized feature phone to run MobiControl.

Enhanced PTT: For the enterprise PTT user on AT&T’s Enhanced Push-to-Talk (EPTT) network, life just got a little better with enhanced performance over LTE, including higher capacity and faster response time. Kyocera already builds its rugged devices with out-of-the-box support for a range of PTT services and platforms, and includes enhanced sound quality for speaker and microphone, dedicated walkie-talkie-style side-buttons and superior battery life, while partnering with a wide range of optimized accessories for rugged environments and applications. Now instant one-to-one and one-to-many communications are even easier and more reliable with the backing of an LTE network.

Better service: Running on AT&T’s LTE network, DuraXE offers superior connectivity to rival 3G feature phones. That means better signal wherever you are and the ability to (almost) always be connected, as well as fewer dropped calls. Plus, DuraXE can function as a mobile hotspot.

At Kyocera, we see LTE becoming pervasive in feature phones, and we’re thrilled to lead the charge and be the first to deliver an LTE-capable feature phone with VoLTE capabilities. For only $13.50/month for 20 months, $49.99 with a two-year service agreement and purchase of Enhanced Push-to-Talk service (CRU only), or $270 without contract, the rugged, waterproof DuraXE is leading the way for feature phones, be it HD Voice, Enhanced PTT or simply LTE connectivity that you need.

For more information on the Kyocera DuraXE, visit AT&T or at Kyocera Mobile.

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles.  When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

Blueforce Development Corporation Endorses Kyocera’s Devices For Workers in Hazardous Locations and Jobs

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At Kyocera, we believe that not all rugged devices are created equal. Our DNA is rooted in creating mobile devices that offer a unique blend of toughness, performance and affordability, and we feel we have a leg up when it comes to providing field workers the best durable mobile solutions. A big part of our success in rugged is in part because we have a great ecosystem of developer partners creating apps that tailor our devices to particular markets, like Blueforce Development Corporation.

Blueforce develops software products that “facilitate the formation of arbitrary and spontaneous confederations of people, sensors, and systems using mobile devices.” Their sweet spot is delivering network-centric computing for those requiring the highest degree of security, mobility, and interoperability, making them a perfect match for Kyocera.

One way Kyocera differentiates our devices for potentially dangerous jobs is by certifying them to certain OSHA “HAZLOC” (or “Hazardous Location”) standards. Earlier this week Blueforce posted a blog entitled, “A Primer on the HAZLOC Certification: Not All Mobile Scenarios Require Intrinsically Safe Devices,” where they outlined the benefits and tradeoffs of different levels of HAZLOC certifications.

As Blueforce pointed out in this blog post, it is imperative to carry a properly certified phone if you work around hazardous materials. That’s where Kyocera excels. Blueforce endorsed our rugged devices, particularly our Brigadier, DuraForce and DuraForce XD for providing workers in high-risk settings “peace of mind that their smartphones are certified for protection in hazardous locations where concentrations of flammable gases, vapors or mists are not normally present in an explosive concentration (but may accidentally exist).” They also go on to endorse our Class I, Division 2-certified devices as offering, “the necessary and robust level of protection, full ruggedization and the affordability and convenience of an off-the-shelf solution from the nation’s leading wireless service providers.”

“Customers with highly mobile workforces require solutions that match the environments in which they work. Whether it is oil and gas, or visiting nurses and social workers, a common requirement emerges: all require a device that is safe, a device that is resilient, and a device is easy to use. Kyocera delivers all of this and more,” said Michael Helfrich, CEO of Blueforce Development Corporation.

Partners like Blueforce are important to Kyocera’s success in our mission to be the worldwide leader in creating rugged mobile solutions. For more information on HAZLOC certifications or Blueforce, check out their blog or call them at 866-960-0204.

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles.  When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams.