Aug 1st, 2011

[Update 2]: And now the Gingerbread update is rolling out. Check for it over the air.

[Update]: Looks like it was a mistake after all, but the possibility doesn’t completely dissipate. A Kyocera representative told BriefMobile that both the WiFi calling and NFC support features were listed by mistake. Android 2.3.4 listing apparently went up too early and the inaccurate information was left in. They did, however, say that that they were working on these features in experimental form, meaning there very well still could be an NFC chip inside the Echo. I guess we won’t know until Kyocera feels it’s no longer “experimental”. [Brief]

Whoa, color me surprised. An impending Gingerbread upgrade for Sprint’s Kyocero Echo is said to be bringing with it a couple of big features. One of them is WiFi calling, something we didn’t see coming from Sprint or Kyocera. That pales in comparison to what’s said to be coming next, though – NFC support.

The Kyocera Echo was announced and launched with nary a word about any near-field communication chip inside, so it’s surprising to see Kyocera list this as a feature of the forthcoming update. We can see where Sprint and Kyocera might have wanted to keep this feature a secret.

As you might know, NFC support didn’t make its way to Android until the advent of Android 2.3. If Sprint and Kyocera were to advertise the feature before they were able and ready to enable it, they would cause a lot of consumer confusion and no one wanted to deal with that.

It makes us wonder if the chip is inside any of Sprint’s newer phones, and if it is, why it hasn’t been enabled. For now, the Kyocera Echo is believed to be the second phone on Sprint’s carrier with this sort of functionality if Kyocera hasn’t made a mistake in their error. Let’s look forward to it coming sometime soon. A full list of features are below. [Engadget]

Android 2.3.4 upgrade (Gingerbread) features:

  • An upgrade to the Sype 3.0 virtual keypad, with Tap Correction and Horizontal Word Choice List (predictive text)
  • An improved Downloads application, offering easy access to any file downloaded from the browser, email or another application
  • Pinch-to-zoom in Browser, Gallery, Maps, & Sprint Navigation
  • Internet calling over Wi-Fi
  • A Near Filed Communications (NFC) Reader to interact with posters, advertisements, products, etc.

Echo Mode
A customized app from Kyocera that helps users manage battery life on their devices. User can pre-set a point (Based on percentage of battery charge remaining) at which their phones will go into low-power-consumption mode. When in Eco Mode, Echo automatically will change various settings – chosen by the user – to conserve power, including Screen Timeout, Display Brightness, Wallpaper, Auto-Sync, Hpatic Feedback and Auto-Rotate Screen.*

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