YotaPhone Combines E-Ink with LCD In Dual-Screen Match Made in Russia

Russian electronics startup YotaDevices launched itself to worldwide attention with the YotaPhone, a premium 4.3-inch smartphone with a conventional IPS LCD screen on one end, and an artsy 4.3-inch e-ink panel on the other. E-ink is an energy-efficient monochrome panel technology found in entry-level e-book readers.

Unlike LCD, which needs energy to display anything, e-ink panels need energy only to draw a new frame, but not to display it (unless there's some kind of backlit illumination). The e-ink side of the YotaPhone, hence, always stays "on," using power only to update time or to post notifications. The e-ink side could also help make the phone an eye-pleasing e-book reader.

Apart from the screens, either sides of the YotaPhone are equipped with the essentials: the earpiece and mic; the e-ink side has the phone's primary 12-megapixel camera with LED flash, while the color-LCD side has its "front" secondary camera with 1.3-megapixel resolution. The LCD screen packs 720 x 1280 pixels resolution.

Under the hood are Qualcomm's Snapdragon MSM8960 dual-core processor clocked at 1.50 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB or 64 GB of fixed-storage (options), and a zesty 2,100 mAh battery. The SoC supports 4G LTE, most 3G bands, 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC. Android 4.2 "Jelly Bean" is at the helm.

For now, the YotaPhone is only being prototyped, and it could take a short while before it is marketed.