Yotaphone.

We've seen dual display devices before, but never one like this. The Russian broadband service provider Yota has engineered their own Android phone, with big specs, and a full sized e-ink display on the back. If you're thinking that the name sounds familiar, Yota also happens to be the company that released the world's first Wimax 4G cellular network, and is a leader in 4G LTE technology.

The phone has been designed so that besides the always present time and weather notifications also are displayed on the e-ink panel. Social networking, calls, messages and reminders appear, or a user configurable slideshow of images can be displayed. Of course, you can also read news and eBooks on the 4.3-inch e-ink display. Flip things over, and a matching 4.3-inch 720p LCD is ready for watching a movie or surfing the web. It's novel, and different. I've always said I like different, and can't wait to have a good look at this one. 

We'll know more about release and pricing at MWC in February, but chances are it will be an eastern European and Asian only affair. We do have some specs though.

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8960 Dual Core 1.5 Ghz Krait
  • OS: Android, 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Dimensions: 67 x 131 (7.3 / 9.9) mm
  • Weight: 140 grams
  • Display: EPD Eink, 4.3z-inch, LCD JDI, 4.3z1280x720 (HD)
  • Connectivity: LTE (bands 3, 7, 20 MIMO), 2G, 3G, 4G, Wifi (Direct), BT, NFC
  • Storage: 32 or 64 GB Flash
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Battery: 2100 mAh
  • Camera: 12 MP main camera, HD front camera 
  • Controls: Touch strip for EPD control, Power and Volume Keys, SIM slot combined with Power key button
  • Connectors: Magnetic Adaptor for charging and data, Audio 3.5mm

The 2100 mAh battery is a bit concerning since it's an LTE device powering two separate 4.3-inch displays (even if one is e-ink), but the specs are nothing to laugh at -- especially the part where it ships with 4.2 on board. Hopefully we learn some more about this one, and it eventually appears on an importers list. Hit the break for more press renders and the full press release.

 

New Archetype in Smartphones Unveiled Today

The YotaPhone with two displays will change the way people use their smartphones for notifications, reading experience, personalization and communications

Moscow, Russia. 12 December 2012.  A new archetype in smartphones with two displays will help consumers enjoy life’s virtual side without missing the real one, explains the phone’s creator, Moscow-based Yota Devices.

YotaPhone is a powerful Android-based phone. It is the first time a smartphone integrates a full-color LCD on one side and an electronic paper display (EPD) on the other side. The two displays are linked together to open a new world of unlimited user experiences.

The EPD is the user’s personal space for receiving notifications, linking to social media, reading news as it happens or simply displaying favorite pictures. The LCD and EPD are both 4.3 inches.

“This will be the first time that people will be able to personalize the information they want to receive on their phones in an effortless way,” said Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov. “You tell YotaPhone what information you want and when you want it. It becomes your personal assistant reminding you of what’s important to you.”

“Today if you want to check your email, calendar or social media page, you have to pick up your phone, turn it on, open the application and only then can you receive the information. With YotaPhone, this information will appear on the electronic paper display effortlessly, continuously and updated in real time,” Martynov explained.

The two displays have different functions and different purposes. YotaPhone lets users watch videos, play games and perform other functions best suited on the LCD, but adds an electronic paper display for content that requires longer reading time, like reading a book or magazine. It also keeps important information visible without draining the battery. Boarding passes, maps, tickets and other important information are displayed even if the battery dies.

“Technology is setting the tone of our lives rather than the other way around. We at Yota Devices aim to rebalance the relationship with our smartphone. YotaPhone takes all the best components of this great lifestyle product and amplifies them. At the same time, we address some of the ways smartphones interfere with us being truly social beings. YotaPhone is always connected, but in a smarter, less stressful way,” said Martynov.

Yota Devices has been working on YotaPhone for more than two years. The first model was shown to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in September 2010 at a meeting on the country’s modernization program. Yota Devices has filed a number of patents, copyrights and design rights associated with YotaPhone.

YotaPhone uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8960 platform, one of the most advanced processors integrated into a single chip, and the latest release of the Google Android operating system. The API developed by Yota Devices will allow the developer community to create innovative ways to use and benefit from the phone’s two displays. Yota Devices has created a number of applications for YotaPhone to allow users to take full advantage of the EPD.

“YotaPhone is elegant, slim and sleek. It’s as gorgeous outside as it is inside, featuring two Corning Gorilla Glass screens, which are exceptionally resistant to damage,” Martynov said. This is the first time Corning’s 3D Gorilla Glass is being used on a smartphone.

YotaPhone will be available for sale worldwide in the second half of 2013. It is a multi-band, LTE phone that will work anywhere in the world. Exciting new details about YotaPhone and its innovations will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 25-28 February 2013.