Meet YotaPhone: dual-display Android handset with e-ink screen on the back

4 December 2013, 6:37 am EST By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

The YotaPhone is definitely one of the rarest Android smartphones, as it sports dual displays - one on the front and one on the back of the device.

The smartphone market is increasingly competitive and the standards for high-end devices have pretty much been set, which makes it a bit hard to come up with something truly innovative that would set one device apart from the crowd. Samsung and LG have come up with the Galaxy Round and the G Flex, respectively, which bring innovations in the form of curved displays. However, both of those efforts, while innovative, are still employing the same touchscreen smartphone recipe, with the display on the front of the device and the camera and battery packed on the back.

Russian company Yota is now aiming to revolutionize the smartphone experience with its YotaPhone, an Android handset with two displays. At first glance, the YotaPhone may look like a regular smartphone, but once you turn it around you will find another display on the back of the device.

The front display has a 1280 x 820 pixels resolution, while the back screen is an e-ink reader with a resolution of 640 x 360. Both screens measure 4.3 inches.

"We took a huge risk," Yota told CNET. "And we did it. We strongly believe smart phones will never be the same."

In terms of specifications, the YotaPhone packs a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage capacity, and a 1,800 mAh battery. The smartphone also sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, as well as a 1-megapixel front camera. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS with GLONASS.

"The electronic paper display is always on, but in a less disturbing and more user-friendly way. You can easily see notices, emails, tweets, and other information in real time without picking up or even activating your phone," the company touts on its YotaPhone product page.

"The electronic paper display does not have to go dark to save battery life. Even if the battery is empty, the most recent information on the EPF remains visible. You can use it to save important information. Save anything from a route on a map, to a boarding pass, to theatre tickets."

The YotaPhone is reportedly launching on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Russia, Germany, France, Austria, and Spain, with other markets such as the UK, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Cyprus set to follow in January. The smartphone comes with a €499 price tag unlocked. The company has yet to announce any plans for a U.S. launch, but it told CNET that "future versions of the smartphone might make it to the States."

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