There have been a few cautious entries into the world of dual-screen Android devices from the likes of Kyocera, Sony, and Samsung, but Japanese manufacturer NEC is hoping to leave these efforts in the dust with their new smartphone. The MEDIAS W has a form factor that's distinctly different from any yet seen in the Android world: two 4.3-inch screens in equal resolution, side-by-side. It's a bit like a smaller, inverted version of the Sony Tablet P turned 90 degrees, or the old Microsoft Courier concept shrunken down.
Adding to the heap of pre-MWC goodies we've seen lately, NEC decided to show off three of their new Android-powered phones today in Japan, and if nothing else, the devices look interesting.
The first thing that jumps out is the strange gizmo on the far left – it appears to have 2 displays back to back (when folded), and is labeled as the "best cloud device," hinting at easier cloud connectivity.
Samsung, in partnership with China Telecom, has just announced the SCH-W999, successor to the W899. The W999 is a formidable (read: huge) flip phone, and comes with two of everything – two 3.5" S-AMOLED displays at 480x800, a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8660 processor, and 2 SIM slots.
Besides its powerful processor and dual displays, the W999 offers a 5MP rear shooter, dual-mode connectivity, and penta-band support.
If you can't tell from the photo above, the W999 is a hefty device, at least in terms of width and height.
Hot on the heels of the mock-up leak for the PlayStation certified "S1," Engadget has caught wind of another Android-powered Sony tablet currently in the works. Continuing with the theme of wacky design, the device is rumored to be a clamshell-style, dual-touchscreen device. Each display will measure 5.5 inches, and when closed, the device has a cylindrical form factor reminiscent of the giant crayon-shaped calculator I had when I was 5.
Turns out the rumors were true - Sprint and Kyocera have partnered up to build the Echo, the world's first dual-screen phone.
The two 3.5" 800x480 screens offer 4.7 inches of real estate when combined, and can be used as:
- One huge display ("Tablet Mode")
- Combined displays, where one screen can show a keyboard while the other displays the email app ("Optimized Mode")
- Two individual displays with each running a separate app ("Simul-Task Mode")
- One single display, with the second hidden underneath ("Single-Screen Mode")
Unfortunately, the rest of the Echo's specs aren't nearly as innovative - its battery is puny (1370 mAh, though Sprint will include a spare), it doesn't have a front-facing camera, and there's no 4G connectivity to speak of.
This morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint's big announcement will involve a Kyocera-manufactured device called the "Echo," which features two 3.5-inch displays connected by a "pivot hinge." To be honest, I had a hard time believing the rumor - it sounded like the stuff of dreams (at least with the current state of technology) - but it looks like my fears were unfounded, for a search for "echo" on Sprint's site brings up the following result:
While the link below the promising text doesn't open an actual product page, it does lead to the following gem, which makes the possibility of an official unveiling tonight even more likely:
Guess we now know why Sprint didn't have anything to show off at CES (excluding the Shift 4G), eh?
Last month at GSM 2010, NEC showed off a 7" touchscreen Android tablet. The company was marketing it towards businesses, and it's supposed to function mainly in the cloud - an interesting proposal. Unfortunately, it seems the execution is lackluster in just about every way. The specs are utter crap:
- 600 Mhz CPU (NEC says this will be updated to 1 Ghz at some point)
- 384 MB RAM
- 1 GB ROM
- Resistive touchscreen
- WiFi & Bluetooth
- Android 2.1, with updates coming down the road
- Custom UI
Based on the video below, it it looks like it runs like a dog.
The Fascinate hasn't even been on Verizon's shelves for a month yet, and it looks like they're already planning on adding another variant of the Galaxy S to their lineup: the Continuum (SCH-i400). Technical details on the phone are light at the moment, but we can see in the images that it's rocking two displays - the main one (up top), as well as a small screen below the capacitive touch buttons.
File this one under the "it had to be done" category: a dual screen Russian Android phone. And not just any dual screen Android handset; this baby has one screen on the front and one screen on the back. That's right, no flipping open, sliding, or anything of that sort, merely turn the device over and you're facing the other screen.
Oh yeah, and it turns out that other screen is curved.