Yota smartphone sports both front and back screens

BARCELONA—The YotaPhone from Russian phonemaker Yota is the first smartphone to sport an LCD touchscreen on one side and an e-ink screen on the other. The area of both screens is 4.3 inches across; the LCD screen has a resolution of 1280 pixels by 720 pixels.

My first question was why would someone need a phone with two screens. And to my surprise, Yota CEO Vlad Martynov had some very good reasons.

It has a lot to do with battery life. An e-ink screen uses very little battery, so you can leave it on virtually all the time. For instance, you might want to have your Twitter feed or your stock quotes displaying at all times on your phone.

If you did that on your regular touchscreen, your battery wouldn’t last very long. But with the Yota phone’s e-ink screen it’s possible, using the phone’s 2100 mAh battery.

The YodaPhone has a regular touchscreen on one side and an e-ink screen on the other to save batter life.

It’s also just easier to access applications that you use a lot. Martynov demonstrated this by showing how many movements it takes to check your Facebook page on an iPhone. He took it out of his pocket, hit the power button, swiped the unlock slider, pressed the Facebook icon, then waited for the newsfeed to update.

With Facebook running on the e-ink screen on the Yota phone, none of those steps are necessary, Martynov says.

The Yota phone will soon go on sale in Russia for about $650 dollars, the company says. Yota is now talking to U.S. wireless carriers about selling the device. We’ll keep you posted on that.

Other specifications for the Yota

The Yota has a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8960 dual core 1.5 GHz processor; it runs the Android OS 4.2 (Jelly Bean) release; connectivity choices include LTE (bands 3, 7, 20 MIMO), 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi , and NFC.

Memory choices include 32GB or 64GB of flash memory and 2GB of RAM. Its cameras include a 12-megapixel main camera and an HD front camera.

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