Sprint Announces the Kyocera Echo – A Dual Screen Android Phone (Updated)

Posted by at 4:07 pm on February 7, 2011

At a special event tonight, Sprint confirmed the launch of the Kyocera Echo. The device is the first true dual-screen Android phone and has multiple modes to make the most of its twin 3.5-inch, 800×480 displays. Apps can take up both screens in a tablet mode, run separately in each screen or even run in an optimized mode that can use both screens for one app.

The phone’s unique hinging design lets one screen tuck behind the other for those who want to use just one regular app at a time.

Inside, it runs a second-generation 1GHz Snapdragon processor and has a five-megapixel camera with 720p video; a 1,370mAh battery powers both, but a spare battery is in the pack to keep going. An 8GB microSDHC card comes in the box. Android 2.2 still comes preloaded, but it supports the same Wi-Fi hotspot sharing as phones like the Evo 4G even though it supports regular EVDO-based 3G.

Kyocera Echo is a pocket-friendly, single-display smartphone. When opened, Kyocera Echo reveals a revolutionary new platform for wireless multitasking and gives customers a new level of versatility in Android. Its innovative hardware and optimized software enables consumers to use the touchscreens in four unique ways:

  • Single-Screen Mode with all the functionality of a single-display, touch-screen smartphone.
  • Simul-Task Mode with two of the phone’s seven core apps (messaging, e-mail, Web browsing, phone, gallery, contacts and VueQue) running concurrently but independently on the dual displays – e.g., reading e-mail on one screen and opening a text message on the other; checking Facebook via the browser on one screen while looking through a photo gallery on the other; or even searching the Web on one screen and checking email on the other.
  • Optimized Mode with both displays supporting a single, optimized app with complementary functionality and enhanced usability – e.g., composing e-mail on one screen with a touchscreen keyboard on the other; watching a YouTube video on one display while browsing and queuing additional YouTube videos on the other (with a preloaded Kyocera app called VueQue); or viewing gallery images on one display while browsing image thumbnails on the other.
  • Tablet Mode with one application spread across both displays for a full 4.7-inch viewing area. Tablet Mode is ideal for viewing maps, videos, websites, detailed documents, and long lists on-the-go.

“Sprint is proud to boast the most powerful Android portfolio available today and Echo adds to that legacy with industry-leading technology that will change the way our customers use smartphones,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. “Today’s busy schedules often demand that we do at least two things at once. Kyocera Echo is the first device that allows us to do a different task on each of two screens while also providing a tablet-like, larger screen experience that easily fits in a pocket when closed.”

The Echo should reach Sprint’s stores during the spring and will cost $199.99 on a contract.

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