Sprint and Kyocera kicked off their joint introduction of the Kyocera Echo, the first dual-screen Android smartphone, with a performance by the illusionist David Blaine at an event off Times Square Feb. 7. The 3.5-inch LCD WVGA touchscreens can also work together — in “tablet mode” — as a single 4.7-inch (on the diagonal) screen for watching a movie or reading.
If two screens sound like twice the battery drain, Kyocera addresses this by shipping the phone with two batteries as well as a special charger. “Two screens, two batteries, two experiences,” said Adib. Both Hesse and Adib noted the “pocket-ability” of the Echo, saying that some larger-screened devices were getting caught in a middle ground (we’re looking at you, Dell Streak). Still, while the Echo measures 4.53 by 2.23 inches high and wide, it’s a rather chunky 0.68 inches thick.
Sprint will also be releasing the Echo’s API (application programming interface) and SDK (software development kit) so developers can begin designing applications for the Echo’s dual screens. 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," Hesse added in a statement.
Kyocera and Sprint have teamed up to launch a new device that they tout as an industry first: an Android-based dual-screen smartphone. When both screens are in use, the device can be held in either portrait or landscape orientation.
The phone's software, which is built on Android 2.2, has received extensive customizations to take advantage of the secondary screen. The phone also has a multitasking mode that allows the user to run a separate application on each screen.
The screens will be able to run separate applications, said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. An application can also be split across both screens. One screen can show an e-mail inbox, for instance, while the other shows the contents of an e-mail. Kyocera has developed a YouTube application that lets a video play on one screen while the user queues up the next videos to play on the other screen. It will run on Sprint's 3G network as well as WiFi hotspots.