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YotaPhone: Dual-screen 'always on' smartphone launches for €499 - featuring E Ink on the back, LCD on the front

New design aims to solve the problem of constant notifications by using low power E Ink rear screen to show incoming messages and more

YotaPhone, the new dual-screen smartphone with an LCD display on the front and an E Ink screen on the back, has launched today in Russia and parts of Europe.

The device will go on sale for €499 and will be available in the UK only from the manufacturer’s online store.

The dual-screen concept is intended to conserve battery life and improve how customers keep track of their notifications. The front-facing screen is a standard 4.3-inch, 720x1280 LCD display, whilst the back has a 360x640 resolution.

E ink displays only use a small amount of power, meaning that the rear-facing screen can be ‘always on’ – left out on a desk , displaying incoming messages and useful information like the time and the weather, without draining the battery.

The YotaPhone is the first smartphone from Russian company Yota Devices, a spin-off company of Yota, who have previously specialised in creating modems and other networking equipment.

Explaining the intended appeal of the phone, Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov said, “the typical user picks up and activates their smartphone more than 150 times a day. Why?  Because users worry that messages or information they need or want are hidden behind their phone’s black screen. 

“Once we determined that an electronic paper display would work as a second screen, an array of new and improved user experiences became obvious.

For example, YotaPhone combines a smartphone and e-reader into one device for those who enjoy reading on-the-go.  You can save images and information on the second screen, and it stays there, even if you lose battery power.”

As well as the dual-screen technology, the YotaPhone offers a standard Android experience, running on a 1.7GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

 “We are a start-up company that had a big idea and we’ve executed on that idea,” said Martynov. “We have many people and partners to thank, not least of which are tech enthusiasts around the world who have embraced the YotaPhone philosophy. This is YotaPhone 1.0.  Expect other big and new things to follow.”

Stay tuned for our hands-on review of the YotaPhone