YotaPhone, the only E-Ink phone on the market, ships this Christmas

Big YotaPhone

Russians have given us many gifts in the past: vodka, insane dating sites and this, the dual-screen YotaPhone which is launching December said Techcrunch.

We covered the story almost a year ago but had practically dismissed it as vaporware. Luckily, the YotaPhone is very real and something of a rarity in the tech world, chiefly because of its split personality design. On the front, a colour LCD screen. Flip it around and there’s an E-Ink display on the rear (is it the front now?) that displays notifications and the like. YotaPhone has paired with Singaporean manufacturer Hi-P to mass produce its one-of-a-kind flip-phone.

The YotaPhone will have a fight on its hands when it launches Christmas time. Namely because the specs have now dated slightly. First up, it only has a 1800mAh battery which will barely get it past a day of use. Next up, the 1.7Ghz CPU is dual-core only, and now when quad-core is the norm, it’ll be the users suffering more than the YotaPhone. Luckily for us, there’ll be 2GB RAM paired with a 720p, 4.3″ display which will at least deliver a decent-looking viewing experience (as long as the pixel count is high enough).

One final issue: is a novel second-screen an incentive for those in the market for a new phone to purchase, this? YotaPhone may be priced at €500 (US$673) which is expensive enough to justify the purchase of a proven smartphone, such as the Note 3, HTC One, iPhone 5S or practically anything else on the market. Yes, the phone is guaranteed to turn heads when it’s plopped on the dinner table as people eagerly attempt to figure out exactly what it does, but is curiosity a reason to drop a fat wad of cash on an unproven device? Our hopes are low for the YotaPhone, but we can’t wait to see if it has a true impact on an already overcrowded market.

Steven Norris: grumpy curmudgeon


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