Smartphone with Dual Screens—What Next?

Debba Boles

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Kyocera has released the new Echo Droid Smartphone. This unique phone has the capabilities of acting like a tablet, while still compacting down into regular Smartphone size. Kyocera says it isn’t meant to replace the tablet, but will give the Smartphone power user options. When expanded into tablet mode the screen becomes one large screen that is a 800 x 960 display. It comes with apps that are especially optimized for use on the dual screens: Browser, Contacts, Email, Gallery, Text App, Phone, VueQue (YouTube). According to article by Josh Smith, GotToBeMobile, The Echo will let you use these seven apps in dual screen simultasking mode, but you can’t always interact between the apps as you may expect as noted in several reviews. PC World reports, disappointingly, that, “For instance, I can’t throw a URL from an e-mail on one screen to a browser on another, or open a YouTube link in an e-mail message on one screen in the VueQue app on another. ”

The Echo’s dual screens give you 46% more screen real estate than the iPhone 4. The Echo runs on the Android OS 2.2, which means you get Adobe Flash 10.1 capabilities. It has a speedy 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, but only runs on the 3G network. It is available through Sprint which is noted for its 4G network, so I’m not sure why this phone is using old technology. According to Josh Smith, “When you only need one display, you can save battery life and get by just like on any other phone. When you want to have more screen space for web browsing or playing a game, you can use one screen as your keyboard and the other as your display. When you want to do two things at once, which is where the Echo really shines, you can simultask which allows you to use two apps, one on each screen, to do two things at once. ” Kyocera has recognized that power users will probably want a better battery than the 1390 mAh it comes with, so has included a spare battery and charger.

The Echo’s specs are not all that impressive. Aside from the dual screens, the Echo isn’t all that special. It comes with 8 GB RAM, but is expandable to 32 GB. The camera is only 5 megapixels, which doesn’t really compare to some of the other Droids. For example, my Droid X has an 8 megapixel camera. The Droid X and HTC’s Evo 4G both have screens that are 4.3 inches compared to the Echo’s dual screen size of 4.7 inches. The two 3.5 inch screens combine, but with a gap between the screens, which can be sort of distracting. When you are sliding your finger across the screens, it stops at the gap. The Echo’s compacted size isn’t all that small. Its dimensions are 4.5 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 0.78 inch deep and weighs 6.8 ounces. This may make it a tight fit for your pocket. New technology is always fun. I’m just not sure that this dual screen idea has been properly thought out yet.

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