T-Mobile intros dual-screen LG DoublePlay 4G with slideout keyboard. Image from T-Mobile
Frustrated that you always need to go back to the home screen to access your camera (if you lack a dedicated external button) or open a new app on your smartphone? LG thinks all you need is a second touchscreen to truly multitask with a fascinating dual-screen design for the DoublePlay, a 4G phone that is coming to T-Mobile this holiday season, though no exact date or price has been announced yet.
Beneath the main 3.5-inch touchscreen is a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard that is split into two halves, with the secondary 2-inch touchscreen in-between. The layout of the keyboard makes usability sense as that's how you'd position your thumbs for thumb-typing anyway. I wonder if the size of the buttons are large enough for actual typing as the space for the touchscreen comes from somewhere. Both screens are customizable so users can create a shortcut to their most frequently used apps/icons. In that sense, the relatively average-sized main screen is acceptable thanks to the 2-incher. The 4G phone will be available in the very seasonal appropriate color, Truffle.
Aside from its unique form factor, the guts of the DoublePlay are comparable with mid-tier smartphones (and hopefully with a price tag to match). It has a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera with LED that can shoot 720p videos, runs Gingerbread (Android 2.3), and is nonetheless a 4G phone so you will be able to enjoy T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. Other features include:
Group Text to communicate with multiple people at once
Cloud Text to send and receive texts across platforms, including a PC or tablet
The biggest question mark for me is just how well the dual-screen will work in real life, and how much of a battery drain they will pose to this 4G phone. It seems we will soon find out as the DoublePlay will be the official device of the 2011 LG U. S. National Texting Championship in New York City October 26. (Winner takes home $50,000!)
While the LG DoublePlay may not the prettiest phone I've ever laid eyes on, its design certainly sounds like it could be a joy to use to get things done, which goes a long way in my books. What do you think?