Remember the YotaPhone? Of course you don't. The smartphone with a color touchscreen on side and an E Ink screen on the other was quietly revealed late last year and quickly forgotten. But as luck would have it, the folks at Russia-based Yota Devices were still working their butts on it.
The oddball Android smartphone is finally ready for a global release before Christmas. No word on if that means the device will ship in time and reach your house (should you order one) by Christmas, but at least it isn't another vaporware device. Official pricing hasn't been revealed either, but you can sign up for a preorder on the company's website.
So, what's the fuss about the YotaPhone? For starters: it has two screens — one on the front and one on the back. On the front is a traditional 4.3-inch (1280 x 720 resolution) LCD and on the back is an always-on e-paper display (640 x 360 resolution), that's sort of like a Kindle's screen. The E Ink display is there to augment the front color screen; for displaying notifications and other bite-sized info such as missed calls, weather, reminders, and messages. The only downside that we can tell is the E Ink display isn't a touchscreen; there's a capacitative touch zone for finger gestures below the screen.
"Even if the battery is empty, the most recent information on the EPD remains visible" is how YotaPhone's website puts it. It's handy for saving things like route info or a boarding pass.
It being an E Ink display also has another well-intended purpose: you can actually see it under direct sunlight.
We're not sure how well a smartphone like the YotaPhone will sell considering how everyone is moving towards bigger displays, but it's an interesting device nonetheless.
The rest of the YotaPhone's specs aren't too shabby either, so long as you're not looking for something with a gazillion mobile cores: 1.7GHz dual-core Krait processor, 2GB of RAM, 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash (1080p video recording), 1-megapixel front camera, built-in FM radio, 1800mAh battery and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.