U.S. start-up creates a $420 smartphone with rear e-ink display, biometric earprint sensor and more
_With smartphones tending offer near identical features, a number of manufacturers have sought to break the mold and bring something new to the table. On a number of occasions, we've seen handsets with more than one display, with LG having recently dropped the V10 featuring a smaller screen for additional functionality. There's also the YotaPhone 2, which by contrast, has opted for a rear-facing e-ink display. An interesting concept, it's one that American start-up Siam has latched onto with its Kickstarter hopeful 7X device.
Where YotaPhone is a Russian brand thus making it difficult for U.S. consumers to purchase its handsets early on, Siam is a Stateside pretender touting an eye-opening set of features. As well as the 4.7-inch e-ink display on the rear, the 7X includes a 5-inch 720 x 1280 panel as its main point of interaction, an octa-core SoC and a 16-megapixel main shooter, with some quirky biometric earprint recognition tech thrown in for good measure.
With two displays, Siam suggests you could be running two screen-hogging tasks at the same time and multitask 'like a pro'. You may, for example, have maps running on the e-ink display while using the main viewer to catch up with friends on social media -- all without interruption. The e-ink side of the bargain is not delicate for those wondering about causing accidental damage -- it's bolstered by Gorilla Glass to ensure a degree of ruggedness.
Utilizing the Descartes Biometric Helix system, the 8-megapixel front camera can recognize the earprint when held up to the side of the face, as well as catering to the needs of selfie lovers. It's an interesting quirk that could allow a device's owner to prevent others from making and receiving calls without permission,
Under the hood, you get a 1.3GHz 64-bit MediaTek octa-core processor, and alongside the to-be-expected 4G connectivity, buyers can also enjoy dual-SIM support. This is a rarity for a U.S.-made handset, and could heighten the Siam 7X's appeal to business folk or frequent travelers.
The Siam 7X packs a 2100 mAh battery, which seems precious little when one considers the two displays that it needs to power. However, digital readers will know that the likes of the Kindle can go weeks without requiring a charge, such is the power efficiency of the e-ink display. Not only does the 7X's rear panel use scarcely any battery at all, but it will retain the last image shown even after the battery dies. This could prove a lifesaver if you've information you need refer to after the lights go out, such as an important list or note.
Siam has teamed up with SMS Audio on this Android 5.0 Lollipop device, so you get a pair of the audio firm's 'BioSport' heart-rate-monitoring earbuds bundled into a package that costs $470, inclusive of a 32 GB microSD card. There's also an early bird special for backers that pits the handset at $420, although is deal only offers standard SMS earbuds, and you don't get your microSD card either.
Still, with free shipping worldwide, a December 2015 delivery and 'free upgrade to the next model' for all packages, you get a helluva lot of bang for your buck. For more information, check out the Kickstarter campaign at the source, which requires considerable backing if the 7X is to ever see the light of day.