You know what’s better than one screen? Two screens.
That’s Kyocera’s strategy with the Echo, a dual-screen Android smartphone that was announced early last month. Today, the Echo made an appearance on the FCC, with the phone’s dual screens opened wide for SAR testing, above. The device, also known by the model number M9300, won FCC approval for its CDMA/EVDO 800, 1900 bands, as well as Bluetooth and WiFi. As expected, WiMAX does not appear to be an option on the Echo.
Sprint hasn’t provided a release date or pricing for the Echo. However, today’s FCC filing suggests that we should be seeing the Echo soon. Kyocera’s confidential FCC documents for the Echo are sent to be published on July 23, 2011, so the device will definitely be released before then.
Honestly, when was the last time you put the words “Kyocera” and “innovation” in the same sentence? Yesterday, Kyocera was just one of the many phone manufacturers struggling to make a name for themselves in a crowded market of Android devices. Today, the Japanese company stunned the world with the Echo, arguably the most innovative Android device that we’ve seen to date.
In case you haven’t heard, the Echo features two screens that can be used together to form a single 4.7” touch screen, or independently to run two apps at the same time. Apps must be designed to run simultaneously – a process Kyocera dubbed simultasking – and currently there are only seven apps that can pull this off, including a browser, email and messaging. Still, watching two apps run at the same time is quite impressive – you can watch a video and compose an email in different screens, or surf the web while sending a text. Kyocera and Sprint will release an SDK shortly to get third party developers in on the simultasking action.
The device opens up with a horizontal clamshell design to reveal dual 3.5” screens. Or, if you’re not in a dual screen kind of mood, you can close the device, leaving only one screen exposed. There’s a 5MP camera with flash on the back of the Echo, although the device doesn’t have a front facing camera.
Under the hood, the Echo relies on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon GSD8650 processor. It’s too bad that Kyocera didn’t select a dual core processor – that would seem like a natural fit for the device. The Echo, which runs Android 2.2, also features Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi.
The Echo will be available exclusively on Sprint this Spring for $200. Interestingly, the device will come with two batteries and an external charger, perhaps a sign that the dual screens will do a number of the Echo’s battery life.
Another potential downside of the Echo is its size. The device weighs in at 6.8 ounces and measures 17.2mm thick. That’s nearly twice as thick as the iPhone 4…but then again, the iPhone 4 does only have one 3.5” screen.
Either way, the Echo has set the bar pretty high as far as Android innovation goes, and we can’t wait to get our hands on one.
Kyocera Echo, the world’s first dual-touchscreen smartphone, appears on Sprint’s website, sports 4.7” combined display
Earlier today the Wall Street Journal announced that Sprint will unveil a dual-screen Android smartphone called the Echo at Sprint’s exclusive press event tonight. Just a few minutes ago, the Echo was confirmed by Engadget, who found the blurb above on Sprint’s website.
According to Sprint’s website, the Echo will feature two screens that can be combined to create a single 4.7” display. Each screen can also be used independently. For example, two different apps can be run simultaneously on the two screens. Sprint tout’s the device’s pivot hinge design that enables the device to switch from a 4.7” monster into a pocket-friendly smartphone.
That’s all we know for now, but we’ll get the full goods later tonight at Sprint’s press event.