Gionee was founded in 2002 and has grown to become one of the largest Chinese cellphone manufacturers, although not to the same scale as Xiaomi or Lenovo. It employs more than a thousand people but in recent years, Gionee’s focus has been on designing and selling slim handsets. We’ve seen that Gionee don’t just sell thin devices; witness the Marathon M3, an unusual lower / mid-range device with an enormous battery. But they are mostly known for their super-thin smartphones such as the Gionee Elife S5.1, which has only just handed over the “world’s thinnest smartphone” prize to the Oppo R5. And now, we have reports that Gionee is close to releasing a dual-display, Android-powered clamshell smartphone, the W900. The handset has recently been through Chinese cellphone regulator, TENAA, so whilst we don’t know the likely release date or price, we do know the specifications.
First, the Gionee W900 looks similar to a number of Samsung’s dual-screen flip Android smartphones, but Gionee have upped the game here. It’s a more powerful device and comes with two 4.0-inch, full HD AMOLED screens. The device also packs a quad core, 1.5 GHz processor equipped with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage backed up by a MicroSD card and a 2,050 mAh battery. There’s a 13 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front camera, high speed WiFi and 4G LTE. The W900 will run Android 4.4.4 Kit Kat and we’ve no word when it’ll be upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Those of you who have seen an Android flip phone (in your life), raise a hand please, now keep your hand up if you’ve seen it in the United States of America, continental Europe or the United Kingdom… thought so. It seems that the so-called developed smartphone markets don’t get flip-style smartphones and for me, this is a shame. I would like to experiment with the genre, I would treat it as something of a convertible smartphone. I would be able to use the touchscreen with the flip phone closed, benefiting from a software keyboard. But if I wanted to make and receive a call, or use the keypad, I could open it. The flip phone design keeps the inside screen reasonably well protected and – although I am fast with a software, on-screen keyboard, I need to look at it at least some of the time, whereas with a hardware keyboard I don’t. All the same and given the advantages of a flip phone, I do understand the disadvantages. There’s more mechanical engineering needed in the design (that hinge needs to be robust), there’s pressure for space inside the chassis too (witness the battery capacity only being 2,050 mAh). Yes, there are compromises, but I’d like to see a manufacturer try an Android flip phone in the United Kingdom. And no, bending an iPhone right around over itself won’t count!