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YotaPhone, the smartphone with a second always-on e-ink screen, is now official

Posted: , by Victor H.

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YotaPhone, the smartphone with a second always-on e-ink screen, is now official

The YotaPhone, a unique device with an always-on e-ink display on its back in addition to a traditional LCD on the front, has - after months of development - finally become official. A product of Russian company Yota Devices, it is available for pre-order now in a number of European countries and it’s gearing up for launch in as many as 20 markets by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

But what is the YotaPhone? The whole concept has been swirling around for around a year and that long time that it’s been cooking has sadly made an impact on its inner guts that seem a bit lacking, but the main idea here circles around the second always-on battery-frugal e-ink display. Now, there is a 4.3” 720 x 1280 pixel LCD display on the front of the device and that sounds like a fairly common screen for a mid-range device. So are the 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core chip, 2GB of RAM, and 1800mAh battery. The device also features a 13-megapixel camera.

What is not common, though, is the secondary e-ink always-on screen on the back of the device that also measures 4.3 inches in size. E-ink is a type of monochrome displays that is extremely battery efficient and perfectly readable even under direct sunlight, so it’s great for use outdoors. YotaPhone puts it to good use - it refreshes automatically with your notifications and messages, and custom apps have been built so for instance you can see an always up-to-date Twitter stream on the back of the device. The back screen has a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels, supports 16 scales of grey and there is a capacitive touch zone below it for gesture controls. You can also easily send a book to read to the e-ink screen. Other content like images can also be easily beamed with a simple two-finger swipe from the top in a number of optimized apps.

It gets even more interesting as access to the e-ink display is open to developers via APIs that Yota Devices have developed.

It's hard to say what the future holds for the YotaPhone, and in the current reality of spec and camera wars, we’ve seen devices that innovate in different areas like the Moto X with its ergonomics and always-on voice breakthroughs struggle to get wider user adoption. The YotaPhone is that kind of device that falls out of the mainstream narrative and would likely end up being a niche device - at least that’s what we’d expect - but it’s still very refreshing to see some innovation directed in a completely different area such as the secondary e-ink display here.

YotaPhone, the smartphone with a second always-on e-ink screen, is now official
The YotaPhone is launching in its home market in Russia tomorrow with a starting price of 19,990 Russian rubles, and it will also come to Europe (Austria, France, Spain and Germany) at €499. Yota will further expand into Europe and the Middle East by end Q1 2014, but has not announced any plans to chase after the influential American and Asian markets. Hit the link right below for more information and to actually pre-order, if you like what you see.


Finally, right below is the YotaPhone unveiling event in its entirety and with the Q&A session that followed.



source: CNET

16 Comments
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posted on 04 Dec 2013, 05:59 3

1. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 764; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


lol the the second ink display reminds me slightly of the lps on the nokia n9 and the new lumias and old symbian devices when it comes to notification but other wise definetely alot more functional and cool would like to see where this ends up in a year !!

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 06:18 7

6. xperiaDROID (Posts: 4821; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


The Flop sold Nokia to Microsoft, but that doesn't mean Nokia designs will extinct, it's still alive. And we will see more phones that look like Nokia Lumias in the future. Now there are few phones that have the Nokia Lumia design, for example, the Xiaomi Mi3, Jolla, and the YotaPhone.

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 23:31

13. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 764; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


i wanna nokia to buy jolla and make a brand new hardware division full of young finnish talent and see where it takes us !

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 06:10 2

2. xperiaDROID (Posts: 4821; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


I would like to get my hands on this YodaPhone, does it come with a light saber for free?

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 06:13 4

4. ihavenoname (Posts: 962; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


Yeah but with short one. I recommend Samsung Galaxy Skywalker.

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 06:26 3

7. xperiaDROID (Posts: 4821; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


No thanks, I like the Nokia Lumia R2-D2 more.

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 06:12 1

3. ihavenoname (Posts: 962; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


Like old flip phones with small notification screen on the lid. But what if you drop it?

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 13:11

11. Kaiser2007 (Posts: 132; Member since: 16 Nov 2013)


My Moto V195 has it. Small screen is always on. The phone is still fully functional. I keep it as my back up phone.

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 06:16

5. _Bone_ (Posts: 2061; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Surprised it took so long to get it done, although I always wished for the e-ink flip cover case for similar purposes, both now sorta a reality.

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 07:07

8. cezarepc (Posts: 442; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)


If released earlier this year it could have made a splash. The new batch of flagships (and their new features) are just too advanced that the e-ink display would be easy to overlook and wouldn't catch the attention of a typical consumer.

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 07:48

9. Pancholo (Posts: 370; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Someone should make a case/cover with an e-ink display if people really crave it. A phone with more features that further suck on your battery juice is a no-go for me, sadly. I understand that e-ink displays' battery drain is minimal, but it's still sucking it and at the moment, I can live without it.

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 08:16 1

10. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 615; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


This may sound weird, but I would want a phone with an e-ink display as the primary display. Would be interesting to see just how much battery it uses and how manufacturers would try to design the UI to fit the black-and-white screen (come to think of it, the Metro UI would fit perfectly with this screen)

P.S. No '50 Shades Of Grey' jokes?

posted on 04 Dec 2013, 23:16

12. Pancholo (Posts: 370; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


More like 16 scales of grey!

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 05:30

14. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 615; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


Haha zing! (ah I miss the old =3 episodes)

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 13:22

15. TheYellowDart (Posts: 7; Member since: 18 Oct 2013)


This needs to be on a tablet, it would mean the best of both worlds. Especially if they can make the e-ink side something like the paperwhite kindle. Obviously amazon should make this into their kindle fire line so folks can buy on the fire side and read all day long on the e-ink side!

posted on 05 Dec 2013, 14:29

16. xoxoGeorges (Posts: 150; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


The most interesting phone in a long time.

Somebody big buy them for traction.

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