At the halfway mark of the last decade, the Motorola i930 was a beast. It packed a 180MHz processor, 32MB of RAM, a VGA camera, and Windows Mobile 2003 into a 167g casing more than 30mm thick. It was a hard-core, ruggedized device built at a time when rugged feature phones still commanded a premium, and durable smartphones were practically unheard-of. It also packed the fastest walkie-talkie in the industry, and a carrier label that, at the time of the phone’s release in 2005, was among the most-respected brands in the United States: NEXTEL.
The i930 wasn’t all sunshine and polish, though: it arrived on retail shelves after first being leaked almost two years before, and lacked features like Bluetooth and “high-speed” WiDEN data. It was also not upgradeable to the then-modern Windows Mobile 5.0 OS, and its high price tag at launch didn’t reflect any of these deficiencies.
But customers on Sprint’s iDEN-based Nextel network -almost 20 million strong in 2005- bought it in droves. Was it the fact that the i930 was the only Windows-powered smartphone available with high-speed push-to-talk? Was it the onboard GSM radio for global roaming? Was it that sweet push-to-open button with integrated status light? Watch our throwback review below to find out, read our story about the dismantling of the iDEN network to gain a sense of why Nextel was important, and then check out our Kyocera Torque review to see what a modern PTT-enabled smartphone looks like, eight years later!