The YotaPhone is a smartphone from Yota Devices Ltd., a Russian company that also manufactures a portable LTE router called Ruby.
YotaPhone is an Android smartphone, running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. But it’s different from other smartphones (Android and otherwise) in that it comes with a dual screen (it’s a double-display smartphone). On the front is a 4.3-inch, HD LCD display and on the back is an e-ink display that’s also 4.3 inches.
It went on sale on Austria, France, Germany, Russia and Spain today, with plans to sell it in 20 CIS, European and Middle East markets by the first quarter of 2014. The CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) is made up of former Soviet Republics.
Aside from having a dual display, Yotaphone’s hardware specs is nothing to rave about. Inside is a dual core 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor. For a device with a sticker price somewhere between USD $600 and $700, it’s going to face a heavy headwind in the marketplace especially when you consider that even in Russian, the iPhone 5s is in the same price rage. And the iPhone 5s has a 64-bit A7 processor.
But no iPhone has a form-factor that comes with a secondary display that enables it to function as both a smartphone and an e-reader. The e-ink (electrophoretic ink) display is manufactured by E Ink Corporation, a company based in Cambridge, MA, USA. That display has a screen resolution of 360×640 (grayscale), is always on and is designed for reading, even in bright sunshine. But reading is not just what the rear display is good for. Other functions are best read here.
With a form factor that comes with a front and back screen, you expect the YotaPhone to be thicker than phones of a similar size. Indeed it is, but not by a whole lot. At 9.99 mm (0.39 inches), it is just slightly thicker than the Samsung Galazy Note 3, which is 8.4 mm or 0.33 inches, and the iPhone 5c (8.97 mm or 0.35 inches) thick. The iPhone 5s is 7.6 mm thick (0.30 inches).
YotaPhone has a rear 13 MP camera and a 1 MP front camera, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC storage and a host of connectivity options. If you are in the US, the YotaPhone is not likely to be on your Christmas shopping list, and definitely not on mine. All I want is tablet that’s not powered by Android, Windows and the iOS.