11
Dec
yotathumb

Looking to "rebalance the relationship" between humans and their smartphones, Moscow-based Yota Devices has announced the YotaPhone, a smartphone with an LCD display on one side, and an e-ink screen on the back.

yotatop2

The reason behind (between?) the dual screens, Yota says, is to deliver the information users want, right when they want it, without disengaging from the real world by pressing a power button and unlocking a screen. Users can choose to see information ranging from news stories to social media updates, calendar entries, and more. The information updates itself constantly, and is always ready to be looked at. Since the e-ink display uses very little battery power, the phone's 2100mAh pack should allow users to enjoy usage comparable to devices with a single display.

yota1 yotaoverall

Dual displays aren't the only feature the YotaPhone has to tout, though. Here's a quick rundown of its other specs:

  • 4.3" LCD display at 1280x720 (that's about 340ppi)
  • 4.3" e-ink display
  • 1.5GHz dual-core Krait processor
  • LTE (bands 3, 7, 20 MIMO) connectivity
  • 32 or 64GB Internal storage
  • 12MP main camera with unspecified "HD" front camera
  • 2100mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Combined power button/SIM slot

While the YotaPhone looks alright on paper, it's important to note that it will be the first smartphone produced by Yota Devices – a company that is actually a spin-off from modem/router manufacturer Yota. That being said, the phone has, evidently, been in the works for over two years already, and it does have a nice mix of alluring weirdness (did I mention the power button is also a SIM slot?) and some decent-sounding specs.

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Will Yota Devices' "new archetype in smartphones" be a success? We'll have to wait and see – the phone isn't expected to become available until Q4 2013, at which point its Krait processor and JDI display panel may be wanting. Yota Devices is, however, planning to say a little more about the device at MWC 2013. For the full press release, just keep scrolling, or check out Yota's PDF presentation below.

New Archetype in Smartphones Unveiled Today

The YotaPhone with two displays will change the way
people use their smartphones for notifications,
reading experience, personalization and communications

Moscow, Russia. 12 December 2012.  A new archetype in smartphones with two displays will help consumers enjoy life’s virtual side without missing the real one, explains the phone’s creator, Moscow-based Yota Devices.

YotaPhone is a powerful Android-based phone. It is the first time a smartphone integrates a full-color LCD on one side and an electronic paper display (EPD) on the other side. The two displays are linked together to open a new world of unlimited user experiences.

The EPD is the user’s personal space for receiving notifications, linking to social media, reading news as it happens or simply displaying favorite pictures. The LCD and EPD are both 4.3 inches.

“This will be the first time that people will be able to personalize the information they want to receive on their phones in an effortless way,” said Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov. “You tell YotaPhone what information you want and when you want it. It becomes your personal assistant reminding you of what’s important to you.”

“Today if you want to check your email, calendar or social media page, you have to pick up your phone, turn it on, open the application and only then can you receive the information. With YotaPhone, this information will appear on the electronic paper display effortlessly, continuously and updated in real time,” Martynov explained.

The two displays have different functions and different purposes. YotaPhone lets users watch videos, play games and perform other functions best suited on the LCD, but adds an electronic paper display for content that requires longer reading time, like reading a book or magazine. It also keeps important information visible without draining the battery. Boarding passes, maps, tickets and other important information are displayed even if the battery dies.

“Technology is setting the tone of our lives rather than the other way around. We at Yota Devices aim to rebalance the relationship with our smartphone. YotaPhone takes all the best components of this great lifestyle product and amplifies them. At the same time, we address some of the ways smartphones interfere with us being truly social beings. YotaPhone is always connected, but in a smarter, less stressful way,” said Martynov.

Yota Devices has been working on YotaPhone for more than two years. The first model was shown to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in September 2010 at a meeting on the country’s modernization program. Yota Devices has filed a number of patents, copyrights and design rights associated with YotaPhone.

YotaPhone uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8960 platform, one of the most advanced processors integrated into a single chip, and the latest release of the Google Android operating system. The API developed by Yota Devices will allow the developer community to create innovative ways to use and benefit from the phone’s two displays. Yota Devices has created a number of applications for YotaPhone to allow users to take full advantage of the EPD.

“YotaPhone is elegant, slim and sleek. It’s as gorgeous outside as it is inside, featuring two Corning Gorilla Glass screens, which are exceptionally resistant to damage,” Martynov said. This is the first time Corning’s 3D Gorilla Glass is being used on a smartphone.

YotaPhone will be available for sale worldwide in the second half of 2013. It is a multi-band, LTE phone that will work anywhere in the world. Exciting new details about YotaPhone and its innovations will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 25-28 February 2013.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    "Did I mention the power button is also a SIM slot?"

    Mind. Blown.

  • http://twitter.com/USSENTERNCC1701 USSENTERNCC1701E

    That'd be really nice if you could use the e-ink side as the primary display for e-reader apps. I use my phone as a reader all the time, don't want to carry around two devices, and it is hell on battery life.

    • Pyrotek85

      It's going to get worse too, the trend is bigger and brighter screens, and they just soak up so much battery life. We really need a breakthrough in battery tech soon.

      • Matti

        Agreed. But maybe, in the meantime, manufacturers could stop the silly PPI and thinness race. Just as someone introduces a new SoC with lower power consumption, you get someone releasing a 600PPI phone, so all the potential savings is now gone since the SoC/GPU gas to drive double the pixels. I'm not saying progress is bad, but at least do it in moderation, people!!

        • Magnus100

          They can make thin phones with decent battery and good resolution - check out the Razr Maxx. A phone doesn't have to feel like a freaking brick. Real innovation means thinner phones with brighter screens and more ppi and yet much more powerful batteries

          • Steve Green

            I think you mean Razr Maxx HD. The Razr Maxx is not a good resolution at all.

      • jamaall

        There already has been. I know of lithium air which holds way more battery (I think I heard 8x more). But these batteries are so dangerous that it may take until 2020 to make them available to the public. It would be like a bomb in your pocket if one exploded. I really hope they can find a way to make these batteries safe sooner.

        • Elias

          AFAIK lithium-air is not rechargeable. And is already being used in hearing aids.

          • jamaall

            Sorry, wasn't sure about lithium air. Only read about it in an article. But I know they are also making flexible batteries. Curious to see how that works out

  • spydie

    Now this is almost what I've been waiting for (actually wanting to see color E-ink which has already been developed, but no takers yet on producing it), but being as I love my Kindles, I think this is pretty cool. Add a quad core and an s-pen, and a larger screen, and you've got a winner. I'll be standing in line to get this one even if they don't upgrade it to the specs I really want. too cool for words.

    • Matti

      Color E-ink would be the holy grail, I think. Still looks some ways off with regards to number-of-colors and refresh rates, sadly. Let's hope for the best.

  • spydie

    of course the downside is, you can't put a protective case on it, a bumpers is all you can get for drop protection.

    • TheFirstUniverseKing

      If a case's back is see-through then it should work with the e-ink display. After all, I don't think you'll be interacting with the rear display through touch (I could be wrong), since it appears to be strictly for extra information.

      • Franky

        Which raises an interesting point - Are users supposed to interact with one side while looking at the other, i.e. blindly? Would I have to turn over the phone just for scrolling? Or are both sides enabled for touch at the same time, leading to obvious problems while holding the phone? Neither option seems to make much sense ergonomicly.

        • Matthew Fry

          You could use the gyroscope to determine which screen was up either turning the other screen off or using the other screen as a kind of mouse maybe?

        • s427

          IMO it would make more sense to have only one side active at a time. If you turn the color (front) screen on, the back screen automatically turns off.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            E-ink displays don't need to be "turned off", they only consume power when the pixels are changed. Turning off the back screen (in the sense of 'clearing it') would actually consume power.

          • s427

            I know that. The issue is that leaving the screen constantly on may expose potentially sensitive information to other people's eyes.
            It's a trade-off. But turning it off would consume very little power anyway, so it would make sense IMO.

        • Elias

          If you're seeing B&W photos, google now cards or reading a e-book you could turn pages pressing/holding the volume buttons. Manufacturers could even add a couple more hardware buttons to our phone in order to interact with this screen. Bonus: holding these extra buttons could turn on the main screen and take you directly to camera app (then becoming a shutter button) and music app (then becoming a play/pause button), which are things I still miss from my Sony Ericsson K550i.

  • https://www.facebook.com/MusicalWolf Todd Wolf

    Admittedly, even though it won't have the quad core Krait, this is really cool!

  • ScottColbert

    And this is why I love Android.

  • 27yearold

    Finally someone is changing away from terrible bland boring design of gs3 and n4. I want to see every permutation of phone, screens, features on market, not just the same damn thing. All this is missing is a qwerty, stylus, sd card, hdmi, expandable/removable battery, gamepad, zoom lens, lapdock, ubuntu, and wireless charging. but it's lightyears ahead of gs3/n4 crowd.

  • lufy0000

    I would defined get one assuming the power last

  • Brenda

    Finally, some actual innovation

  • Matti

    Gawd I love the crispness of E-Ink. It's so f*ckin sexy!!

  • Ray

    ..yawn

    Sent from my Nexus 4

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      Really? This is a really innovative phone and all you're going to say is 'yawn'?

      • SetiroN

        he's cool and alternative and cynical

      • Ray

        What else would you like me to say Phil? Perhaps it is innovative, but I'm not too thrilled about an e-reader/smartphone. I don't see the purpose of having a dual screen device. I say we keep e-readers above 7", and the smartphones under 5".

  • phanmo

    At any given time display is 80-90% of my battery usage because I read on my phone; this would be a lifesaver(and let me read in the sun)!

  • http://twitter.com/sam1am John Samuel αΩ

    Looks awesome but they have made the Palm mistake of announcing the phone way too early. All interested parties will have moved on to something else and by the time this comes out it will feel ancient because we heard about it a full year ago.

  • PhilNelwyn

    No source link?
    I have to search for it, that's too much effort... :P

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The PR was sent via email. I uploaded the PDF with more info - it's embedded in the post as well now.

      • PhilNelwyn

        Thank you, good sir.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001482286220 Karan Ocs

    this is the most beautiful and fully functional device i have ever seen and i want this so bad i hope it sell out well so it have a developer community SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ivan Petkovic

    I use YOTA LTE, service is pretty good right now, and this phone looks really good. With e-ink screen on the back - a winner. Way to go, comrades.

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Produced in Russia = destined to fail, at least the first version.
    It would be nice however, if LG would re-use N4 chassis and put E-ink display to the back. But they are cautious, and want to see how Yota device will perform.

    • Ray

      Self hating Ruski?

      • Sergii Pylypenko

        Not self-hating, but well informed. They've shown the prototype of that phone to Dmitrii Medvedev, and it could not even boot, that was in the news. So I have no reason to think they will stop embarassing themselves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roberto.ingrosso.42 Roberto Ingrosso

    Do.Want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ShitizGarg Shitiz Garg

    Almost read this as YodaPhone... would've instantly bought without second thoughts

    • Kozmod

      Buy it now, would you?

  • Laborin_HK

    Yes! Yes please.....

  • coversnails

    Its an interesting design, could possibly see elements of this being incorporated into other phone, it would be interesting to have a small e-ink 'strip' on the front of a phone like an always on notification bar so you could just glance at your phone without turning it on. Not sure a whole back of the phobe would be that useful or practical, but who knows!

  • http://kawangeek.com/ EddyGeek

    i dont know what is e-ink type but im sure it just blank and white display.

  • JLM

    They read my mind. I was just thinking about something like this, this morning. If you read a lot, the battery life anf less stress on the eyes from reading on an e-ink screen would be great and you still have a regular screen to play games and watch videos.

  • Wam31

    I don't think I'd ever buy a dual screen phone, at least not on each side of the phone !
    It would be nice, however, to have some kind of LCD that could switch to an e-ink display on demand (NotionInk Adam anyone ?). Why isn't that available in a phone yet ?

    BTW, aren't JDI screens kind of useless in the dark ? Weird choice to have 2 displays, none of which works in the dark.
    It'll be good bye using your phone as a light when you can't see a damn thing...

  • barak

    Interesting and I love the design, but as someone who commutes a lot, I'm not sure I want people to see notifications and such on the back of my phone....

    • s427

      I suppose the back screen would automatically turn off when you use the front screen?
      Or could be turned off manually at least.

  • myria

    Now the main question is:

    Is The Battery Removable ?

    :)

  • SetiroN

    H2 2013 :(
    I'd seriously consider this, oftentimes I keep my screen on while reading and I'm sure battery life would increase dramatically if I had an e-ink to do that.
    Apart from that, the device's specs look extremely solid and well balanced, along with an innovative design. I am truly impressed.

  • http://twitter.com/whatisajimmy ok

    Why are they launching with 4.2, 5.0 will be out by then...

  • James Legault

    It's not my thing, but at least people have choices. And choices are pretty cool.
    But what would be awesome is if they could overlay the eink on top of the LCD and have only one visible at a time. That way you're not scared to keep your phone on its "face"

  • bsdrules

    Comes with 4.2 out of the box. Hear that Verizon?

    • Matti

      Cool Daemon!! Nice to see another BSD fan here in the midst of the Linux bloat.

    • s427

      Comes out in a year, though.

    • Ray

      Verizon refuses to listen to their customers. I think they have no ears.

  • Darren Henderson

    Toss in wireless charging and maybe bump the cpu a bit and I'd be all over this thing. As it is, by Q42013, probably not.

  • Greek_Ice

    I knew I had seen this sort of novel idea before. popSlate is making an E Ink case for the new iPhone, and I would love to see an Android variant in the future. I've never used an E Ink screen before, but I image any screen that is put onto hard surfaces will be prone to scratches.

    http://www.indiegogo.com/popslate

  • itznfb

    I'm shocked they came out with this before Amazon. Amazon filed a patent (don't know if it was just a US patent or filed in other countries as well) for dual screen LCD/E-Ink devices back in August.

    http://www.techradar.com/us/news/mobile-computing/tablets/amazon-files-patent-for-double-sided-device-1094253

  • Quryous

    .

    The idea is interesting, but the screens, BOTH of them, are way too small.

    I've found that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2's 5.5" screen is truly ideal, both as a general purpose screen, and as an eReader. I'll just stick with that.
    .

  • ElfirBFG

    I like this, like a real lot. Early announcement though, so we'll see how much I like it when it finally arrives.

  • teeth

    "Hey I got that yota"........ dude I told you I don't snort that shit anymore......
    "No its a phone" "see" ......... well at least they made it white.
    "I also got that yoda"........your an idiot.

  • Sam Mitchell

    I wish Pixel Qi would make a smartphone display. That would be awesome.

  • Dabu Xian

    Russian? No, thanks.

  • didibus

    I had this idea a few months back, to have an e-ink on the back of the phone, so I'm glad someone is actually doing it. I also love the design of this phone. I hope they sell to Canada.

  • ssj4Gogeta

    It should be green :P

  • GazaIan

    Holy crap, what a dream come true <3 <3

  • http://twitter.com/10basetom Tom

    It's not the e-ink display that will be draining the battery -- it's the constant internet connection required to stream content to said e-ink display. That is, unless they push content to the phone, at which rate it won't be true streaming anymore. It's a difficult balance between maintaining good battery life and real-time content delivery.

  • Elias

    This. Is. Pure. Genius.

    I usually say dual-screen phones are overkill. After all, you can't use two screens at the same time, and why would you want a small ugly low-res color lcd if you already have a full one? There's no point on having competing screens on the same phone.
    Using a e-ink screen, however, complements a regular full-color hi-res screen. It has greater visibility. Would impose no penalty on battery life. You could read e-books on it without getting your eyes tired. You could see static content such as weather, time, google now cards. And e-ink screens are cheap!

    This is so fucking genius I can't even describe my excitement. Should be standard for all fucking phones in the world from now on!

  • http://twitter.com/vlad_is_on Vlad Martynov

    Thank you to all who read and commented on this article. We really appreciate your feedback and support. We're glad that you like that the power button is also a SIM slot. We love to hear more of your thoughts on the phone and ideas for apps you'd create for it. You can find us at http://yotaphone.com, http://twitter.com/YotaPhone and http://facebook.com/YotaPhone

  • mike

    Same can be done to a 7" tab, can't it?

  • GeForceFX

    I want one. But make it 5" .

  • Melissa Peterson

    Nice to see what appears to be a good phone not have a giant screen since not everyone wants a screen bigger than their hand on their phone. At that point it might as well be a small tablet with phone capabilities.