After first being announced in 2009 as one of the first devices approved by Verizon’s then new Open Device Initiative, the CEO of Saygus has confirmed that the VPhone Android smartphone has now received final approval and has been approved for sale through Verizon’s sales channels. Since the time it was first announced, the VPhone Android smartphone has received slight improvements in terms of performance, with a clockspeed increase to 803MHz from the original 624MHz provided by its XScale processor and an update to a new version of Android from its originally specified release version of 1.6.
The VPhone is also notable for being one of the first devices approved via the Open Device Initiative on Verizon to ship with an unlocked bootloader and custom ROM support via microSD card as well as featuring a front facing camera with video calling support over 3G. Other features include Mobile Hotspot support for up to 13 (!) devices and USB Host capability for file transfer without needing a computer. While the device has been approved for sale, there is no word on pricing or availability.
While the device was announced in 2009, it was expected that it would be approved within months of announcement pending the results of testing, but the rigorous battery of tests Verizon subjected the device to exposed bugs that were unforseen as well as the shortcomings that the ODI approval process had, namely that the program was meant for machine to machine equipment approval and was not intended for small volume handset sales, as well as the failure to provide a realistic timetable from initial testing to final approval. Now with the final approval of the VPhone and its release forthcoming, it remains to be seen whether more small scale manufacturers will submit devices to the program after CEO Chad Sayers revealed why the phone seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth into near irrelevance.