Japanese mobile provider DoCoMo is not unfamiliar with trying the occasional oddball, though intriguing idea, as we've seen previously on Gizmodo. This Android-powered, transparent touchscreen phone however, is definitely more innovative than bizarre and could signal the first, real contender to the now-standard one-sided touchscreen.
Innovative, yes, but not exactly new. LG had a crack a few years back with its LG 900, though going by the fact that such phones are not rampant suggests the style did not take off. It's always been popular in fiction, with Tony Stark wielding this fashionable number in the recent Avengers film.
What separates this prototype, developed with the help of Fujitsu, from other attempts is that you can manipulate it from either side, with different functionality available depending on whether you touch from the front or back, or even both faces at once. The Rubik's cube demo in the video above shows a great example of its versatility in action.
The uses for such a display on a phone are numerous, from richer apps that make better use of their environment, to augmented reality games, which can be clunky to interact with via camera alone.
What good is it if the screen itself is rubbish? Good question. According to Diginfo, the prototype features a 320 x 240, 2.4-inch display, which isn't going to topple Apple or Samsung from their thrones, but its brightness isn't too far below that of current displays. I'm prepared to give DoCoMo a break in this department -- it's a prototype after all -- and even if the quality can't be improved in the short term, the company makes the valid point that it could find a comfortable role as a "sub-display".
Sadly, no info was provided on a possible debut for the technology, but it's definitely one to watch.