Sprint Android phone with dual screens: Spring 2011

The Kyocera Echo Android phone on Sprint has people seeing double. Sports dual 3.5" screens, 1GB RAM, and innovative hinge, but sadly, no 4G.

Sprint Kyocera Echo
By Richi Jennings. February 8, 2011.

Sprint Nextel Corp. just launched an "industry first": an Android phone with two screens. It'll be available in the Spring of 2011, it's promised. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers go cross-eyed thinking about it.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention Someone Else Will Put It Back...

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Agam Shah reports:

The Echo smartphone, made by Kyocera, has two screens stacked on top of each other that slide apart. ... The screens will be able to run separate applications ... a user could surf the Web on one screen and check e-mail on the other. ... An application can also be split across both screens.


The Echo also has a 5-megapixel camera and can shoot 720p video. It comes with a gigabyte of memory and an 8GB microSD card. ... The phone runs Google's Android 2.2 software and is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. ... It will be available ... around April or May for US$199 with a two-year contract on Sprint.

   Nilay Patel needs a sub-ed: [Picky, picky -Ed.]

That's right, dual-screen -- that's two 3.5-inch 480 x 800 displays [that] can be unfolded and used as a single 4.7-inch 960 x 800 surface. The screens are connected by a slick sliding liquid-metal hinge [which] Kyocera's filed several patents on. ... There's ... a new dual-screen app manager, which is brought up by tapping the two screens simultaneously.


It's not the most attractive phone we've ever seen ... there's just a lone rear-facing 5 megapixel camera ... the Echo is 3G-only -- there's no WiMAX, which is a bit odd for a Sprint halo device.

 And Mike Elgan told ya so:

I've said before that dual screens are the future of laptops. They just might be the future of phones, too.


[The] Kyocera Echo ... can be used in "tablet mode" (both screens acting as one), "PC mode" clamshell like a laptop, with an on-screen keyboard on the bottom screen as one option, and "Phone mode," using only one screen.

  But K. T. Bradford plays with the hinge, wondering about heft and lack of 4G:

The pivot hinge is specially designed to make the transition between these three modes easy. ... The hinge motion wasn’t as smooth as we expected, but it’s not supposed to be seamless. ... Kyocera assured us that they’ve done a lot of testing around durability since they anticipate users moving between modes all the time.


It’s relatively thick (0.67 inches) ... you’ll have to decide how much value the extra screen real estate provides. ... The biggest bummer is the lack of 4G support, especially since Sprint’s Mobile WiMAX coverage has improved a great deal in the last several months. ... Kind of baffling for a $199 phone these days.

  Meanwhile, Greg Kumparak snarks it up:

How many times have you been sitting there reading your e-mail and thinking to yourself, “Dang. I wish I could play Angry Birds right now. But I also need to check these e-mails. ... If only I could do them both at the same time!”


Sadly, it’ll be a while after the device’s launch before your dreams of “simultasking” ... Angry Birds and E-mail can come true. While the device comes with a handful of custom-built apps that can make use of the dual screens ... third party apps will have to wait until ... Kyocera release their SDK.


And Finally...

Someone Else Will Put It Back

[hat tip: Paul Smith]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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