Russia’s dual-screened YotaPhone at CES
Earlier this year, Russian company Yota revealed the YotaPhone, a dual-screened smartphone that features a unique E Ink display in addition to a standard LCD screen.
The YotaPhone’s main attraction is a 4.3-inch E-Ink display that sits on the phone’s curved backside. The E-Ink screen allows users to keep certain types of information in view, such as the time, notifications or a photo, without draining battery life.
Inside the YotaPhone we have a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720p HD LCD display, Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 2,100 mAh battery for the usual specs. Then they’ve tossed in a 12 megapixel rear camera and 2 MP front for video chat. All of this comes in a relatively thin package considering the front and back 4.3-inch screens are both protected with Corning Gorilla Glass. Instead of explaining the many features of the rear facing E-ink display enjoy the video with Yota’s CEO Vlad Martynov:
The YotaPhone runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but should launch with the absolute latest version available upon release — which is scheduled for later this year possibly around Q3. Instead of the usual Android buttons, Yota has taken a different approach that we find refreshing, and actually quite intuitive. No on-screen or capacitive buttons here and instead there’s a simple gesture panel under the display. Gesturing from right to left goes home, doing the same gesture halfway is back, and long press brings up multi-tasking. After only minutes with the device I was swiping to go back and home with ease. The idea is actually extremely simple, and works rather well in actual use.
Another unique feature of YotaPhone is including the SIM tray and power button into a single slot to save space and keep the design clean and elegant. Oh and we can’t forget that E-Ink display on the rear which also has the industries first use of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 in a curved design. The E-Ink refresh rate was as expected and took about a 1/2 second, and the images were extremely crisp. The video above gives you an idea of the many uses, and Yota’s API will be released for developers to take full advantage of all its uniqueness.
Being able to display the weather in a simple low power state. Ebooks, comics, RSS feeds (that update real time while sipping battery) screenshots, or even maps long after you’ve lost service or a reliable connection really makes this phone’s E-ink display awesome and extremely useful.