During Mobile World Congress in Barcelona we saw a totally new type of handset. Up front, the usual bright and vivid screen we see on most handsets. On the back though, what you can mistake to be a cover design is actually a fully interactive e-ink screen.
We were shown just just how easy it was to read books, shopping lists and even browse. Use that to read your books and you’re instantly going to improve your battery life. The monochrome e-ink rear panel sucks so much less juice from your battery.
Back in February there was only one working device, but soon you’ll be able to get your hands on one of these. Yota Devices have now launched the YotaPhone 2. If you missed our earlier story, here’s a couple of quick hands-on videos so you know what to expect…
The YotaPhone 2 will be available right here in the UK today and comes with a 5″ 1080p AMOLED screen up-front and that secondary 4.7″ screen with e-ink at the back. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 800 and has 32GB of on-board storage, a 2500mAh battery and 2GB RAM.
Get the full details on this new phone and its always-on rear screen below. It’s priced at €499, which is around £393.
YotaPhone Goes On Sale
World’s First “Always-On” Dual-Screen Phone Available in December in Russia, Austria, France, Spain and Germany
By the end of Q1 2014, YotaPhone will be sold in 20 CIS, European and Middle East markets
Moscow, Russia — YotaPhone, the first “always-on” premium Android smartphone with a liquid crystal display on one side and an electronic paper display on the other, goes on sale today in Russia, Austria, France, Spain and Germany in YotaPhone’s online store (www.yotaphone.com). It will be available in December in retail stores in Russia and Germany. By the end of Q1 2014, YotaPhone will be available in 20 markets in the CIS, Europe and the Middle East.
YotaPhone is a totally new concept in mobile communications, designed to solve users’ frustrations with their current smartphones’ “always-dark” screen. By including a second screen that uses electronic paper display technology, users have access to the information they want and need on a continual basis without having to wake up their phone. The technology also preserves smartphone battery power. In fact, in reading mode, YotaPhone has 7-10 times the battery life of other smartphones.
YotaPhone: Answer to the “always-dark” display
“The typical user picks up and activates their smartphone more than 150 times a day,” explains Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov. “Why? Because users worry that messages or information they need or want are hidden behind their phone’s black screen. This is a huge distraction and can impede meaningful interaction with our friends, families and colleagues.”
Yota Devices realized three years ago that electronic paper display (EPD) technology could make information available and visible without draining battery life and began working with E Ink to adapt their proprietary technology for a dual-screen smartphone.
“Once we determined that an electronic paper display would work as a second screen, an array of new and improved user experiences became obvious,” said Martynov. “For example, YotaPhone combines a smartphone and e-reader into one device for those who enjoy reading on-the-go. You can save images and information on the second screen, and it stays there, even if you lose battery power. You can save anything on the always-on display from a map to a boarding pass. Information, like a missed call or meeting reminder, stays on the always-on screen until it is no longer needed.”
Special hardware and software developed for YotaPhone
Yota Devices worked with some of the world’s leading suppliers and manufacturers to adapt their technology for YotaPhone. For example, YotaPhone is the first smartphone to use Corning’s Gorilla 3 shaped glass. E Ink had to adapt its technology for a 4.3” screen and OEM Hi-P of Singapore worked with YotaPhone’s hardware engineering team to develop a special chassis to house YotaPhone’s six antennas on the outer rim.
Yota Devices developed patented software to allow information to be shared and used between YotaPhone’s two screens. It has also developed a number of innovative applications that come preloaded onto YotaPhone. Yota Devices worked with Bookmate to improve the reading experience for books, ABBYY to adapt its multilingual dictionary Lingvo for learning purposes, Vedomosti for delivery of the newspaper in a more readable format and MapsWithMe for dynamic maps.
YotaPhone will be sold online in December in Russia and four European markets and eventually rolled out to 15 other CIS, European and Middle East markets by the end of Q1 2014. Yota Devices has signed contracts with leading distributors: Ingram for European markets, Jumbo for the Middle East and Brodos for Germany. YotaPhone will also be available in Yota, Svyaznoy and Evroset retail outlets throughout Russia starting in December. YotaPhone will retail for 19,990 RUB in Russia and €499 elsewhere.
Award-winning YotaPhone facilitates more “emotional” communication
Since its unveiling one year ago, YotaPhone has received numerous awards and accolades, including Best of CES 2013 by CNET, PC Mag and Time magazine.
“YotaPhone isn’t just a new phone, it’s a new way for people to communicate and use information. Communication is more emotional and real with YotaPhone,” explained Martynov. It was this feature that caught the attention of the jury of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity when it gave YotaPhone an Innovation Lion award in July 2013.
YotaPhone sends emotional text messages from your friends and loved ones, such as a heart or flowers. A “Smile for the Camera” message appears when taking a photo. Reminders with entertaining images appear on the always-on screen, like a cake for birthdays. YotaPhone can be a personal coach, keeping track of exercise regimes or reminding you of personal goals. When YotaPhone’s morning alarm rings, your custom daily RSS news feed appears. YotaPhone also has dynamic location-based wallpapers to keep users updated on their location, the time and the weather.
“We are a start-up company that had a big idea and we’ve executed on that idea. We looked at the smartphone from another side, literally, and created YotaPhone. We have many people and partners to thank, not least of which are tech enthusiasts around the world who have embraced the YotaPhone philosophy,” said Martynov. “This is YotaPhone 1.0. Expect other big and new things to follow.”
ABOUT YOTA DEVICES: Yota Devices is a private international company dedicated to developing and producing high-tech consumer LTE equipment such as smartphones, modems and routers. The company has sold more than 3 million 4G connectivity devices since its first products went on the market in 2009. The company has also developed the world’s first dual-screen, always-on smartphone, YotaPhone, which went on sale in December 2013 in select markets in Russia and Europe.