The latest smartphone from Kyocera, the Sanyo Zio is powered by Android. With Sprint ID, it is touting a new way to customize Android content on mobile phones. Users can download ID packs that include apps, widgets, ringtones and wallpapers, all in one package.
 
Kyocera debuts its $99 smartphone for the US market under its Sanyo brand
Kyocera debuts its $99 smartphone for the US market under its Sanyo brand

The Zio isn?t the only Android Sprint is going with. The Zio fills the $99 bracket [after mail-in rebate] for the carer which also released two other new Android phones ? the Samsung Transform, for $149.99 with rebate, and the LG Optimus S for $49.99 coming October 31 [not to be confused with the quad-band Optimus T for later release]. The new Sprint ID user customization service is available to all three devices.
 
Sprint ID packages include: Entertainment ID with video, music, photo, Pandora; Socially Connected with Facebook, Gmail, Mashable; Health and Fitness with Workout Coach, BMI Calculator; and Business Productivity with tools for travel planning and communication. A CNet Review questioned the wisdom of downloading a packaged bundle, only to spend time deleting apps, wallpapers, and shortcuts you don?t want, i.e. user customization. They also noted the phone lagged a bit following the download.
 
Kyocera Mascot at MobileFocus 2010: Taken with $99 Zio and then e-mailed to our address, hassle-free. As you can see, colors do fade in low light conditions, but there isn't too much grain, like on more expensive smartphonesYou gotta love the Kyocera Android mascot that was handed out at the Mobile Focus presentation. The company hopes you?ll also love the Zio. Compact sized device [4.6" x 2.3" x 0.5", 3.7 ounce / 117 x 58 x 12 mm, 107 g] itself has many good things going for it, starting with multiple keyboard options, all with haptic feedback. There is an accelerometer for quick rotation between landscape and portrait displays which adjust screen brightness with an ambient light sensor.
 
Users navigate between the features with a trackball. Zio integrates the address book with Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace among others. It comes with GPS and a digital compass and preloaded Google Maps. There is a media player for streaming videos, a full HTML Web browser and further customization from Android Market. Its Android v2.1 "Eclair" with 2.2 Froyo coming during this quarter – gives direct access to the Market?s more than 70,000 apps and games which you can download and install on your phone.
 
The specs read like a modern smartphone feature set, not too diverse from the Transform or Optimus. The Zio comes with a 3.2 MP camera and camcorder with auto focus, a 3.5 inch WVGA touch screen [480x800 pixels] with virtual QWERTY, an MP3 player and Bluetooth v2.1 +EDR, including Stereo Bluetooth, and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO rev A and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g. The microSD card slot supports up to 32GB micro SDHC cards, and the package gets you started with a 2GB microSD. You should get 4.6 hours of continuous talk time on the removable 1130 mAh lithium ion [Li-ion].

Sprint is chipping in with Sprint Zone, for accessing wireless account information, customer news, with phone tips and tricks and a top-app list. Sprint Music Plus provides full music tracks, ringtones, and ringback tones, all which can also be set to your personal preference.
 
But wait, there?s more. Visual voice mail, corporate e-mall [Exchange Active Sync], personal e-mail [POP and IMAP] for access to Gmail, Yahoo, and others; and a 3D GPS navigation map that moves with you. Oddly with all these features, the phone is only available in conservative black with silver trim.
 
The Zio comes with the Sprint Free Guarantee and a new two-year service agreement or eligible upgrade. The Sanyo Zio is priced in between the Transform and Optimus S ? it will cost you $99.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate. Sprint’s Everything Data 450 plan with Any Mobile, Anytime gives customers unlimited text, Web and calling to and from every mobile in America while on the Nationwide Sprint Network, for $69.99As always, they will check your credit score.