Russia’s Yota launches two-sided Android smartphone, hopes that “everyone will be copying” it
It’s hard to develop a smartphone that’s truly innovative these days. Most of the new handsets that big companies are releasing are mere incremental upgrades of previous models. Sure enough, two of LG’s and Samsung’s latest efforts (the G Flex and Galaxy Round) are indeed novelties, coming with curved displays. But they’re still using the traditional touchscreen smartphone formula: display on the front, battery and camera on the back.
Russia-based Yota is now proposing something a bit different: the YotaPhone, which is an Android Jelly Bean (v 4.2.2) handset. At first glance, the YotaPhone kind of looks like a Sony Xperia. But when you turn it on you notice that it features two displays: a main 4.3 inch front-screen with 1280 x 720 pixels, and a 4.3 inch e-ink display on the back (this only has 640 x 360 pixels). The handset also offers LTE and HSPA connectivity, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with Glonass, 13MP rear camera with LED flash, 1MP front-facing camera, dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, and a 1,800 mAh battery.
The e-ink screen of the YotaPhone 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 e-ink display can be also used as an e-book reader, although its size wouldn’t really provide a comfortable experience.
According to Reuters, Yota Device’s Chief Executive Vlad Martynov said:
“If we really hit the mark, we’ll be happy because in two to three years everyone will be copying us.”
The YotaPhone should be available starting today in Russia, Germany, France, Austria, and Spain. Other European markets (including the UK, Czech Republic, Greece, and Cyprus) will get it come January. The handset costs €499 – obviously unlocked.
Yota, “formerly a unit of Russia’s state-run defense corporation”, is now a private company “dedicated to mobile communications and connectivity devices.” It sold over 1 million modems and routers in 2012, “representing 6% LTE connectivity devices market in the segment of modems and routers.”