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Yota announces smartphone with rear-facing E-Ink screen

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December 12, 2012

Yota's first mobile phone will feature a second E-Ink display on the rear of the device

Yota's first mobile phone will feature a second E-Ink display on the rear of the device

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Yota, a Russian company best known for its router and modem hardware, has announced plans to produce an Android smartphone with two screens, one a standard 720 x 1280 LCD and the second an E-Ink display providing users with constant access to social network notifications and other important information. The dual-screen YotaPhone would be the company's first mobile phone with both displays on the 4G Android device measuring 4.3 inches (10.9 cm) and featuring Gorilla Glass.

The company plans to sell the YotaPhone at the premium end of the smartphone market, placing it in direct competition with heavyweight devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Apple's iPhone 5. The device will be equipped with a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 2 GB RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 720p front-facing shooter. Size-wise, the body is less than 10 mm (0.39 inches) thick and weighs 140 grams.

The handset's E-Ink screen will be capable of displaying a range of content

The handset's E-Ink screen will be capable of displaying a range of content

The E-Ink screen only uses power when refreshing its display, meaning that its impact on the phone's battery life will be minimal. Vlad Martynov, Yota's chief executive, commenting on our dependence on social media, told the BBC that “The smartphone is now a window onto this virtual life, but today there's a lot of disappointment when you miss information ... Our electronic paper display with our applications will remove this irritation.” He went on to suggest that in addition to displaying app alerts, the E-Ink screen may also be used to display information such as maps or boarding passes.

Yota isn't the only company that thinks there's a gap in the market for a second, low-powered screen on our smartphones. Indiegogo project popSlate aims to provide iPhone 5 users with similar functionality to Yota's device. Rather than a built in second-display, the popSlate's E-Ink offering comes in the form of a rugged case connected to the iPhone 5's lightning connector.

Yota is currently working on five or six apps that will be bundled with the device that will let users take advantage of the E-Ink screen. The handset is set to debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, with the company aiming for a Q3 2013 launch in Russia. If all goes to plan, users in Europe and North America should see the handset before the end of 2013.

Sources: Yota via BBC, Engadget

About the Author
Chris Wood Chris specializes in mobile technology for Gizmag, but also likes to dabble in the latest gaming gadgets. He has a degree in Politics and Ancient History from the University of Exeter, and lives in Gloucestershire, UK. In his spare time you might find him playing music, following a variety of sports or binge watching Game of Thrones.   All articles by Chris Wood
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4 Comments

Can you say, "Information Overload"?

Without getting too philosophical about it, I don't think there is a huge 'need' for this innovation. Sure, it's 'cool' because it's new and will give you access to yet another layer of useful information (or frivolous FB updates from your friends photographing their lunch), but it really looks a lot like "we did it coz we can".

Personally, I think I would use the e-Ink page for static info that I need instant access to all the time.

These would be my Calendar and my ToDo lists.

Others will want constant FB updates or a newspaper front page. Each to his own, I say.

Ack, who am I kidding? I'm ordering mine.....now ;-)

Fantastic Mista Fox
12th December, 2012 @ 05:02 pm PST

Can you read the ink screen in full sunlight? If you can sign me up for one.

Oombi
12th December, 2012 @ 11:49 pm PST

Fantastic Mista Fox > Personally, I think I would use the e-Ink page for static info that I need instant access to all the time. These would be my Calendar and my ToDo lists.

+1. The problem with current smartphones, is that their screens use so much power that they're not pratical to read longer documents. Same goes for tablets.

OTOH, eReaders can have problems displaying PDFs that haven't been (re)built for those screens, and they have no smartphone capability, so users must carry both devices.

So I also think there's a need for a dual-screen smartphone.

Freyr Gunnar
13th December, 2012 @ 02:35 am PST

I think this is a poor design. Don't drop this thing your twice as likely to damage your screen. Not to mention its kinda ugly. I have no need for 2 screens i work hard so the risk is much higher to damage this big over sized hunk of junk. But I also do not post every moment of my life on FB so to each there own.

Eric Wertin
4th December, 2013 @ 06:18 am PST
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