Sprint Launches Kyocera Kona – Industry First Feature Phone with Verbal Translation of Internet Browsing

Available for free, Kona makes it easy for the visually impaired to stay connected

Business Wire

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

For the visually impaired, using a mobile device hasn’t always been easy. Kyocera Kona from Sprint (NYSE:S) helps to solve that problem by providing an easy-to-use compact flip phone that is the first feature phone in the industry to offer verbal translation enabling Internet browsing.

Kyocera Kona is available in direct-ship sales channels Web (www.sprint.com) and Telesales (1-800-SPRINT1) for free after a $50 mail-in rebate via reward card1 and with a new two-year service agreement or eligible upgrade. It will be available in all remaining Sprint retail channels beginning Friday, Sept. 13. Kyocera Kona is the latest enhancement to Sprint’s product portfolio designed to ensure accessibility for all.

According to the National Federation of the Blind, more than 6.5 million people reported a visual disability in 2011.2 Kona is also the first feature phone to offer a user interface with verbal descriptions of navigation, with which the device describes what is highlighted on the screen and works with menus, messaging, contacts, missed calls, notifications, and many other functions.

Other accessibility features include variable speed text to speech service, which reads texts to users, high-contrast user interface options to accommodate a variety of vision ranges, dedicated In Case of Emergency (ICE) and 911 shortcuts, and a tactile keyboard with well-defined buttons.

"Sprint has always been dedicated to ensuring accessibility – whether it’s our award-winning accessibility Sprint ID application bundles or a device like Kona providing first-of-its-kind features for the visually impaired,” said David Owens, vice president-Product Development, Sprint. “We are providing this product free of charge because we want anyone who has a unique need to be able to take advantage of this great new offering.”

The new Unlimited, My WaySM rate plans for basic phones feature unlimited talk, text and data while on the Sprint network for only $60 per month (excluding taxes and fees). Sprint Kyocera Kona customers can benefit from The Sprint Unlimited Guarantee that promises customers unlimited talk (calls to any wireline or mobile phone), text and data while on the Sprint network, for the life of the line of service. This guarantee is available to new and existing customers who sign up for Sprint’s new Unlimited, My WaySM plan and will apply to customers as long as they remain on the plan, meet the terms and conditions of the plan and pay their bill in full and on-time.

“Almost half of American cell-phone users have not made the jump to smartphones, so there is clearly a significant demand and need in the market for easy-to-use feature phones that don't require additional data plans,” said Eric Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of global sales and marketing at Kyocera Communications. “We addressed that need and went one step further in adding incredible accessibility features that make Kona a reliable communication tool for the visually impaired.”

Kyocera Kona is a CDMA2000® 1X-Advanced flip phone featuring a 2.4-inch QVGA TFT LCD internal color display as well as a 1.44-inch TFT LCD color external display. Capturing quick snapshots is easy with Kona's 2-megapixel camera with 2x zoom and dedicated function key. Calls can be safely taken over Bluetooth® wireless technology (2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate), via the 3.5mm headset jack or through the speakerphone with dedicated function key. With a strong 870mAh Li-Ion battery, Kona is a compact 3.94 x 2.05 x 0.68 inches and weighs only 3.7 ounces.

As part of its all-new network buildout, Sprint is bringing an enhanced 3G experience with better wireless signal strength, in-building coverage, and fewer dropped/blocked calls. These 3G improvements are already available to customers in several cities across the country, such as Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. Sprint 3G customers in these areas, including the company’s prepaid customers on Assurance Wireless, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, can expect to see better coverage and improved network reliability and voice quality once the improvements come to their areas. For more information about the Sprint network, visit www.sprint.com/network.

Sprint’s corporate responsibility program, Sprint Good WorksSM, is guided by the principle that doing the right thing is good business. More than a statement, it’s also a belief: Good does indeed workSM. That’s why Sprint is committed to anticipating the needs of customers and making award-winning services accessible to all. By empowering seniors and people with disabilities through accessible technology, Sprint is demonstrating how good technology works as a positive force in society.

About Sprint

Sprint offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint served more than 53 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2013 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint as the most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all 47 industries, during the last five years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

About Kyocera Communications Inc.

Kyocera Communications Inc. is the headquarters for Kyocera wireless devices in the Americas. Designed with durability, dependability and long-term value as priorities, Kyocera mobile phones help people feel comfortable with new technology and use it to connect, perform and outsmart life’s challenges. At the heart of Kyocera’s products is a belief that one size doesn’t fit all and that people should do more with phones instead of being confused by them or having to alter their lifestyles to accommodate them. For more information, follow the company at www.facebook.com/kyoceramobilephones or www.twitter.com/kyoceramobile.

Kyocera Corporation (KYO) (TOKYO:6971) (http://global.kyocera.com/), the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as a producer of fine (or “advanced”) ceramics. Kyocera specializes in combining these engineered materials with metals and integrating them with other technologies, such as solar power generating systems, printers, copiers, mobile phones, electronic components, semiconductor packages, cutting tools and industrial components. During the year ended March 31, 2013, the company’s net sales totaled 1.28 trillion yen (approx. USD13.6 billion).

1Pricing excludes taxes and service charges. The American Express Prepaid Reward Card (“Card”) provided in connection with this Rebate offer is a prepaid Card that is usable at U.S. merchants that accept American Express Card. Some limitations apply. The Card is not redeemable for cash (except where required by law) and does not provide ATM access. Use of Card constitutes acknowledgement that it is given as a reward and no consideration, value, or money has been paid by the holder to American Express in exchange for this Card. USE OF CARD IS SUBJECT TO THE CARDHOLDER AGREEMENT. SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE LAW, A $3.00 MONTHLY FEE WILL BE ASSESED AGAINST CARD BALANCE, STARTING SIX MONTHS AFTER CARD ISSUANCE, UNLESS FUNDS ARE EARLIER DEPLETED. For BALANCE, customer service and Cardholder Agreement, visit americanexpress.com/sprint or call 866-608-3756. Card issued by American Express Prepaid Card Management Corporation.

2https://nfb.org/factsaboutblindnessintheus

© 2013 Kyocera. All rights reserved. Kyocera is a registered trademark of Kyocera Corporation. CDMA2000 is a registered trademark of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA-USA). Bluetooth mark is owned by the Bluetooth SIG Inc. and any use of such mark is under license. All other marks are properties of their respective owners.

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Contact:
Sprint
Natalie Papaj, 703-592-8412
natalie.lariviere@sprint.com
or
Kyocera Communications Inc.
John Chier, 858-882-3543
john.chier@kyocera.com

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