Earlier this year, a prototype of a dual e-ink and LCD phone was floating around. Turns out it's much further down the development road than that though — in fact, it should be available next year.
Manufactured by a Russian company called Yota Devices, this is an Android phone at heart. But, unlike other phones, into its frame is crammed both a 4.3-inch 720x1280 LCD display on the front and a 200dpi e-ink display of the same size on the rear.
Elsewhere, Yota has released details of the guts that lurk inside too: a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB of RAM, at least 32GB of storage, LTE a 12MP rear camera and a 720p front-facing camera. Despite having two screens, Yota claims it's less than 10mm thick. This things sounds none too shabby.
Yota also claims to be planning to make more use of the e-ink display than reading. It explains that it will route data to the second screen whenever it makes sense in an attempt to increase battery life — by up to 50 per cent, or so it claims. How well that will work in practice — and how much users will appreciate it — is another question entirely.
This brings us to a couple of major question marks. First, it's unclear who exactly would want a dual display phone like this: reading is a very specific application, after all, usually best done on a slightly-larger-than-phone-size screen. Second, Yota hardly has a track record in device manufacturing, so if it's selling a phone based on a dual-screen gimmick, it's not necessarily clear that the rest of device will be up to scratch.
But only time — and a play with the thing — will tell as far as that final point's concerned. Yota is aiming for a launch in the third quarter of 2013.