One screen good, two screens better? Hands-on with the Yotaphone

One screen good, two screens better? Hands-on with the Yotaphone

Summary: The first handset from the Russian smartphone maker proves there's more that can be done with smartphone hardware. But how does it stack up compared to its Android competition?


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  • Who said innovation in mobile hardware is dead? For many smartphone makers, updating their flagship device is chiefly a matter of adding more health-related sensors. Yota, a new entrant to the mobile market, is hoping to carve out a niche with a very different take on hardware.

    Yota's first device, the eponymous Yotaphone, was launched at the Mobile World Congress trade show last year and is now available in major European markets and Russia, Yota's home market.

    On the surface, it might not look too special — there's a 4.3-inch screen, a front facing one-megapixel camera, and a sleek black casing that reminds you of a million and one other handsets out there right now.

    But flip the Yotaphone over, and things start to get interesting.

    Images: Jo Best/ZDNet

  • As well as the screen on the front, the Yotaphone has a second e-ink display on the back.

    Like the front screen, it's 4.3inches; unlike the front screen, it's not multitouch — it's controlled by a touch strip at the bottom of the device — and it's purely black and white.

    While the second screen shows updates, such as message notifications, it can also be used to 'pin' items to the back of the device, like this wallpaper, one of a number of animal themed wallpapers supplied with the device. If pugs aren't your thing, you can pin another image of your choice instead, using the camera, or just a screengrab.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Smartphones

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  • NOT gonna compeat to my design...

    Have a look-see here...

    Can it get any better than this?
    Probably not.
  • Crack!

    I'm a man.
    I carry my phone in my front pocket, like most men who don't wear pocket protectors and hip holsters.
    I can't count all the times I've been doing something as pedestrian as mowing my lawn, pushing a shopping cart, picking up a large object - where I find a lot of pressure from the object, or the handle, being pressed right into my hip, sometimes into my phone.

    And there's that moment where you say to yourself "thank God my screen wasn't facing out, I'd have probably just put a big crack in my screen".

    This phone is to be marketed to people who apparently have never had one of those moments.
  • Crack too!

    Ya man. I bought a phone case for my iPhone 5s which comes with an E Ink screen, initially thought it will be cool that I can use it for reading on the go from my iPhone content. However, like you said it is cracked when my colleague accidentally hit me when he is pushing the trolley shifting the shelf. Not sure it's lucky or bad luck as the E Ink case is facing out in my front pocket. Ok at least my iPhone screen is safe.
  • I say this, having read/analyzed the entire article:

    It seems to me, that this device is in direct competition with Amazon's "Kindle" line of devices. Tablet interface on one side (Kindle Fire) e-ink display on the other (Kindle Paperwhite). It will be interesting to see whether or not the specs say if it's Google Play certified.
    Richard Estes
  • Interesting

    I thought it was more innovative until I saw the comment where the guy said there were cases that did teh same thing.