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Russia’s YotaPhone Packs E-Ink Display and 4.3″ 720p LCD into One Device

December 12, 2012 - Written By Tom Dawson

We’ve seen some pretty interesting form factors take on the smartphone mantle over the past few years. We’ve seen Kyocera try a dual-screen phone and Sony launched a dual-screen tablet in the Tablet P but, both of those devices never really took off. Which was more than likely down to the strange and impractical forms of both devices. The Kyocera dual-screen Echo was an interesting concept and it seemed like they had done a lot of research running up to the device but it was hardly a practical machine and thanks to the very specific build of Android required it was never going to get updates as fast as a regular phone.

It seems that the idea of putting two screens into one device has been all but doomed then – until now. You’d have thought it pretty obvious but until now, nobody has thought about putting the second screen on to the back of the phone. With the YotaPhone out of Russia, it looks like the hurdles surrounding a second screen have not only been addressed but a better design has come as a result.

Take a look at the specs to see what this phone is packing underneath it all:

yotaphone2-620The main attractions of the device are the dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 2GB of RAM. Not to mention the main LCD display packing a 720p resolution in a nice size at just 4.3″. So, we were talking about a screen at the rear of the device, take a look at the phone’s exterior and you’ll see the screen on the rear of the device:

yotaphone1As you can see from the above image there is a nice, colorful LCD on the front of the screen and then an e-ink display on the rear. This is a pretty interesting solution to bringing such a phone to market and it keeps the device to around 10mm thin. The e-ink display is a 200 ppi panel and is designed to display the time, events – such as missed calls and notifications – all the time in order to be a quick reference and prevent the main battery getting used too much. While the device might look like a gimmick – much like Kyocera’s Echo was – it’s a pretty high-end device in its own right, packing LTE, a 12MP rear-facing camera and a high-resolution LCD in to top it all of.

yotaphone-lead-620The E-Ink display on the rear of the phone sounds like something I could really learn to love to use. I’m pretty oldschool in that I actually write notes in a Notebook and E-Ink is the best way to read text – not to mention it’d make for a pretty cool way of checking for text and e-mails. It beats staring at your notification light, trying to figure out which color is which – or is that just me?

There are a lot of questions surrounding the device – such as availability – and just how well will the phone perform in practice. The Russian maker says that the phone will be availabe on russian carriers startimg Q3 next year and that they are in talks with certain us and european carriers as well.Getting the price just right will be a challenge and could be the biggest hurdle for them to overcome.

If you want to see more of the device, take a look at the gallery below: