With an LCD screen on one side, and an e-Ink screen on the opposite side, Yota’s prototype smartphone was one of the big winners of CES 2013. Now, a year later, the handset is now on sale in a number of European territories. I’ve taken a closer look at the handset over on Forbes:
The easiest way to think about the e-Ink screen implementation is that it is related but subservient to the main interactions on your smartphone. To set up one of Yota’s applications on the e-Ink screen you need to ‘send it to the back’ from the LCD screen…
In my time so far with the Yota Phone, the answer is yes. By virtue of being e-Ink, the second screen is always on, drawing very little power, and Yota’s customizations of Android and their own apps which use the screen prove the concept works. With just the e-Ink screen I’ve been able to navigate around Edinburgh, check my diary and upcoming appointments, follow my favourite websites via RSS, read a number of eBooks, control the playback of music on my smartphone, and naturally see what the time is. All without powering up the battery hungry LCD screen on my smartphone.
It’s still a generation one product from a company new to the smartphone world (but not to telecoms, Yota have a strong background in routers and modems), and while I’m excited to see what they come up with next, the first handset out of the gate is a worthy handset that is practical in day-to-day use.