YotaPhone: The dual-screen Jelly Bean smartphone, in pictures

YotaPhone: The dual-screen Jelly Bean smartphone, in pictures

Summary: Russian handset maker Yota Devices is hoping its smartphone with a second e-ink screen can take the company from plucky spin-off upstart to big brand status, but what exactly is that second screen for?

TOPICS: Smartphones

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  • "It saves a lot of battery and gives effortless notifications. We all know the feeling of being in a meeting and needing to check an SMS and doing it under the table. Or to check Twitter; the phone is just lying on the table," Geckler explained.

    While it sounds like that might defeat part of the battery-saving justification that underpins the e-ink display being there at all, you can also control how long you want the radios switched on for; so if you only want live data for mapping or social network updates for 10 minutes, you can set it for just that.


  • Yota Devices hasn't skimped on the specs in order to fit in the rear display, the phone uses a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon Krait processor, currently running the Jelly Bean (4.2) version of Android and, of course, dual 4.3-inch displays. It also uses a combined SIM/power button, not found on any other phone (pictured).

    It'll also play happily with 4G networks — which is no surprise given the company's heritage — arrive with 2GB of RAM and can be specified with either 32GB or 64GB of storage. There's also a 12-megpixel camera on the rear, and an HD quality front-facing snapper, too.

    So it has some of the specs to get it in the game, and it's certainly different from every other handset out there, but will it go the way of so many other interesting conceptual prototypes and vanish into the ether? Not so, says Geckler.

    "It'll be ready in Q4 for shipment. We're in negotiations with all the big operators in Europe, North America and Russia. We're in quite a comfortable situation because it's about whether we want to accept exclusivity in certain markets or not. Pricing will be up to the operator, but it'll be premium Android."


Topic: Smartphones

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • Yota is a serious company

    Having been to Moscow a few times, I've seen the popularity of Yota's products over there. They are a very serious company and (who knows?) they may be successful with this or a similar phone product. I wish them well but can't help but think we are going to see many smartphone casualties over the next couple of years. Seems like everyone will be entering the smartphone market.
    • Pixel Qi

      Why go through all this trouble when you can use one of Pixel's screens to get the same results.
      • Because the LCD quality is very low.

        The issue with the Pixel Qi screens is the overall quality of the display is poor. Meet idea. Limited appeal.
      • Zero Battery Use

        I can see advantages to haveing a display thats always on, with no battery use except when something changes.
        Paul Krueger
  • "premium android"?

    I don't think anyone that wants to spend a much money on a phone as possible considers anything but the latest iPhone.

    I'm betting they go away quickly if its not "mainstream" Android priced. At a competitive price the E-ink screen could be a "decider", at a premium price I think the value of the E-ink second screen will be a tough sell.

    If the rear camera captured decent video, the E-ink screen could make for a nice "on location" podcast Teleprompter.
    • I think you are a couple years behind

      I don't know what hole in the wall you live in- but you sound like a 2008-2010 era buyer. Your assumption is way off base.

      I think two subsequent releases of problematic iPhones, that have removed rather than add functionality (Apple Maps, Wifi) and at best added only novel functionality (Siri is good for a laugh, but Wozniak himself has stated Android voice recognition has always beaten it - and has been available from day 1).
      Compare that to Google Now's predictive functionality, it's especially a novelty.

      People who are buying premium phones are buying Android phones with NFC (wallet), GPS (Google-built-in), Google Now (predictive functionality), and large screens with keyboards that actually work - to minimize risk of sending embarrassing auto-corrects to clients (Swype, Swiftkey, etc), not to mention save the pain of trying to tap-tap-tap lengthy messages.

      IPhones seem to work well if your needs for a smartphone include 140-character-max Twitter, "like"ing things on Facebook, and playing Angry Birds - but for adults seeking a premium smartphone, I don't see why anyone in 2013 would suffer the compromises...
      ...much less pay a premium for them.
      • And by "wifi"...

        ...I mean the unresolved iPhone 5 issues with WiFi, forcing the user to network data - which is often slower, and capped.
  • durability?

    There is an obvious trend in the latest smart phones toward increased fragility. As a result, a market for protective cases has flourished. This device will obviously not work with the typical protective case, so it begs the question ... how susceptible are its two screens to abrasions and fractures?
    David A. Pimentel
  • strange

    But at least its something new
    richard in norway
  • How about a phone

    you can flip shut, with buttons instead of crappy touch screen where you get fingerprints all over what you're trying to view, and you really don't need a display for anything but maybe caller ID or to see the number you're calling. If someone would invent one of those, I'd buy!... OH WAIT I already have that, and I'm happy with it!
  • The sort of think?

    Come on, editors. I know times are tough, but what is this - child labor - child dialect?

    Fundamentally, this is a good idea. Unlike a flashing LED, it doesn't use constant power - just once, to update the e-Ink display.
    You could create more meaningful notifications than a blinking LED light, user-customizable to allow different levels of content to be exposed externally, to the user's preference.
    My only concern is if it adds to the thickness of the device - being a man (read: has to carry his phone in his pants pocket), I need the thinnest device possible.
  • VERY interesting!

    If it doesn't add to the thickness of a phone, I'd be very interested in such a phone. Right now, it's the poor battery life that oblige us to turn off the phone's display almost every instance we're not using it. The e-ink, whose drawback is being black-and-white only, has the significant advantage of using no power when the screen isn't changing. I can imagine lots of us would love an always-on screen, despite its limitations.

    Another big plus is that this screen should be easily readable in bright sunlight! (Yes, I also realize that it won't be readable in the dark.)
  • Android Innovation

    Sure, it's hard to predict whether this will be successful or not. But taking this kind of risk could only happen with Android: no other mobile platform allows you to try stuff like this without asking the permission of the platform owner first.

    Consider some of the other things Android pioneered: 16:9 aspect ratio, 720p handset resolution, phablets, 1080p handset resolution--could some form of dual screens be next? The Yota shows one possibility, another is the NEC Medias W.
  • Price is the bottom line

    According to http://bit.ly/Yotadual it will be priced at $600 which is not exactly cheap.