YotaPhone Has LCD Front, E-Ink Back, Coolness All Over

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How would you like to have a smartphone with two screens, one on the front and one on the back? That's the innovation behind the YotaPhone, an Android smartphone with a 4.3-inch LCD display on the front and an E-Ink screen on the back.

Having two screens on a smartphone could be a handy innovation. The back screen on this Russian YotaPhone will be a display similar to an Amazon Kindle, using black-and-white E-Ink technology that only uses battery power when the image on the screen is changed.

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The E-Ink screen won't be useful for watching videos, but it will give users a convenient way to glance at weather data, stock quotes, tweets and Facebook entries without having to wake the phone from its energy-saving sleep mode. That capability could conserve battery power, a constant concern with smartphones, especially those (like this one) with fast but battery-hungry LTE connectivity. Another advantage of E-Ink screens is the ease with which they can be viewed in direct sunlight.

Yota has added that second E-Ink screen while keeping the YotaPhone as thin as the most svelte smartphones on the market today. At its bottom end, it's 0.4 inches thick, tapering out to 0.3 inches thick at the top. That places it in the same league as the unusually thin iPhone 5, which is 0.3 inches thick from top to bottom.

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The E-Ink screen uses Corning Gorilla Glass for a unique curved design, which the company says encourages users to set the phone down with its glance-friendly screen always visible. The phone will be running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), and like that popSLATE case with an E-Ink back we showed you a couple of weeks ago, it will be necessary to create software to display that data on its second screen.

Yota added another clever idea to the mix: the ability to communicate with your closest friends using secret symbols that conceal the actual message or person sending it. That could be helpful, for example, in a formal meeting where you can glance at private messages in plain sight.

The company plans to show the phone in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and says it will ship by the third quarter of next year in Russia for around $500. That will be followed by a rollout in international markets in the fourth quarter.

What do you think of this idea? Could you see yourself using that second E-Ink screen?

YotaPhone

Photos courtesy Yota Devices

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Photos courtesy Yota Devices

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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