Russia’s Dual-Screen e-Ink Yotaphone Launches

Yotaphone dual-screen e-ink phone Russia

Yotaphone saves battery with e-ink display on the back

A Russian phone with two screens, one of them a low power e-ink display, has launched in five countries, and will reach the UK in the first quarter of 2014.

The Android-powered Yotaphone, which was shown in CES in January this year,  will be available in Russia, Spain, France, Germany and Austria before Christmas, and will reach 15 other countries early next year.

Made by Russian smartphone maker Yota, it combines a conventional front screen with an e-ink display, used in e-Readers such as the Amazon Kindle, which can show notifications and maps while using less battery power.

yotaphone 5 story

Best of both worlds?

The Yotaphone has a 4.3in 720×1280 HD LCD screen on the front, with a 360×480 monochrome e-ink display on the back. Because the e-ink screen uses very little power, it can be kept always on, instead of having to sleep like normal phone screens.

The phone runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, has a 13Mpixel camera, a dual-core Qualcomm Krait processor running at 1.7GHz 32GB of memory and an 1800mAh battery. Those features are not exceptional, but Yota claims that the device can be used for far longer than other devices if it is mostly used in e-ink mode.

It is available in black or white, weighs 146g, and operates on 4G and 3G networks. It also connects to Wi-Fi, and GPS – including of course, the Russian GLONASS system.

The phone is built in China from designs by Yota which, as well as making phones, also runs a 4G network in Russia. The phone will cost  19,990 roubles (£367 or $600) in Russian shops, where Apple’s iPhone 5C costs stores against a price of around 29,000 roubles (£532 or $870) .

Analysts aren’t expecting much: “In people’s minds Yota Devices is a no-name company, it’s not Samsung or Nokia or Apple, which all have their fans,” analyst Denis Kuskov from TelecomDailytold Reuters. “At best, the sales will be limited to several tens of thousands in 2014. The company is focused on developing one model and big production costs clearly won’t be covered.”

In the UK, the phone will be available from Yota’s online shop (where it can be pre-ordered). No partnerships have been announced with any of the UK’s operators.  

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Yotaphone Russian Dual-Screen e-Ink Phone

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Yotaphone dual screen e-ink phone