Sprint Reveals Kyocera Echo, First Dual-Screen Android Smartphone
At a press event promising an "industry first" Monday, Sprint unveiled the Kyocera Echo, the first dual-screen Android phone.
Kyocera hasn't exactly been known for making smartphones , so the event brought about several firsts.
"Today's busy schedules often demand that we do at least two things at once. Kyocera Echo is the first device that allows us to do a different task on each of two screens while also providing a tablet-like, larger screen experience that easily fits in a pocket when closed," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse in a company statement.
The Kyocera Echo looks almost exactly like two Android phones joined at the hip. There are two 3.5-inch screens (480 by 800 pixel resolution) joined by a sliding hinge. When closed, it appears to be a pretty standard touchscreen Android phone, but when opened completely, the screens combine to form a larger 4.7-inch (960 by 800) touchscreen. There's still a thin black bezel separating them, but the screens can act as one.
Sprint says users will be able to run separate apps on each screen for better multitasking, although there may be compatibility problems with third-party apps at the outset. Kyocera is apparently preparing a development kit that will help app makers change that. For now, many third-party apps will take up both screens.
The Kyocera Echo has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor as well as a single 5 megapixel camera on the rear (no forward-facing video chat camera ). It runs Android 2.2, though it has undergone some customization to make it run in a dual-screen setup with the browser, e-mail and messaging services.
The big question for a phone with two touchscreens is what kind of battery life users can expect. The extra screen will put a big dent in the standard smartphone battery life estimates. Sprint hasn't given any specifics beyond saying it would last about a day on one charge. The company did reveal that the Kyocera Echo will come with a second battery in an external charging case that can be swapped out if the phone runs dry.
Sprint announced the Kyocera Echo would sell for $199 (after a $100 rebate), but didn't give a definitive release date, only saying it would be available sometime in the "coming months."