The pitch is a simple one. YotaPhone 2 is a high-specification Android handset that equals the capability of many other Android flagships… it’s just that when you turn over the handset you’ll find a second screen taking up the back cover. One front screen is a five-inch 1080p AMOLED screen, the other front screen is an ultra-low power electronic paper display fully integrated into the Android smartphone.
And it’s available to buy from tonight here in the United Kingdom.I’ve been following the crusade of YotaPhone
as it looks to bring its vision of a dual-screen smartphone to the consumer. I sat down with CEO Vlad Martynov ahead of todays product launch to talk about the tricky second album that is the YotaPhone 2. In some respects this new handset can be viewed as the first true YotaPhone. "YotaPhone 1 was a proof of concept and manufactured in limited volumes," Martynov explains. "It was an idea. Originally it was purely for the Russian market only, but after interest in Europe we decided to release it there through online channels."
That brought in the early adopters and gained Yota Devices valuable mindshare within the industry, and a lot of feedback from its new user base. Much of that feedback has been used to shape the YotaPhone 2 revealed today.
"Everyone wanted capacative touch to extend across the full eInk screen, even we saw that in the design! There was a lot of discussion about the best size for the phone. The team has went with a five-inch screen, this felt obvious.
"But the biggest call from the Android community was to mirror the whole Android experience on the eInk display. We call it YotaMirror, and it allows any Android app to run on the low-power display. Our custom applications all use the second display for 'always on' functionality, but not every feature or facility is available. There is now the opportunity for any application to be made available on the back screen, even if it’s not perfectly optimised.
"This gives users the freedom to decide how to use their Always On screen how they want."
For many the obvious use of an eInk display is to read eBooks on them, and while the YotaPhone 2 has a dedicated eBooks app, it’s a smile matter to use the YotaMirror app to bring Amazon’s Kindle for Android app onto the back screen and read your book on the second screen (honestly it;s the first app I tried!). Yota Devices state that the eInk screen draws seven times less power than the 1080p AMOLED screen on the front of the device, and using its eBook software a user can have up to five days of reading on a single charge.