Before seeing the YotaPhone in the flesh, we expected the double-sided Android smartphone to be something of a novelty item that lacked real substance. But our time with the device and the team behind it at MWC served up a pleasant surprise.
It’s a well built, extremely innovative smartphone that makes good use of its E-Ink rear screen that connects intuitively to the main LCD display on the front. With the YotaPhone its not simply a case of having a phone on one side then flipping it over when you fancy a more reading-friendly surface, as a number of impressive features offer advantages like longer battery life and broader functionality.
Images brought up on the front LCD can be thrown to the back screen, so documents, maps, plane boarding passes and other useful files can remain on display while activity continues on the front. By sending articles and applications like Facebook and Twitter to the rear E-Ink screen and switching off the front, users can save a great deal of power through the day, as our bright, battery-draining displays are taken out of the equation.
The prototype YotaPhone we got our hands on is expected to be very close to the real device hitting stores in Q4 of this year – replete with a 4.3in 1280×720 HD front screen, a 4.3in E-ink back display with 200dpi, robust Corning Curved Gorilla Glass, a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8960 dual core processor clocked at 1.5 Ghz , 32 or 64GB storage, 2GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera allied with a front snapper, and a 2100 mAh battery. It will be priced in accord with premium Android models we were told, so expect something exceeding the £400 mark SIM-free.
It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but has been heavily modified, taking away the soft buttons to make control entirely gesture-based. Having spoken to Yota at length, we’ll be bringing you much more on the YotaPhone soon. In the meantime, enjoy the slideshow below.