February 7, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Everyone’s talking dual-core these days, but how many companies can lay claim to a dual-screen? Just one at the moment. Sprint today announced the Kyocera Echo, the world’s first dual-touchscreen Android device.
The Echo represents Kyocera’s attempt to regain traction in the smartphone market., and the company will do it with a unique form factor. The phone allows users to see two 3.5-inch screens that can act independently or in conjunction with each other. Users can run one app in the top screen – like a YouTube video – and another app in the bottom screen if they want to tweet while watching a video. Kyocera calls this “simultasking” because it’s multi-tasking…simultaneously. Or someone can combine the two screens to display one app at the same time in a combined 4.7-inch display.
A virtual QWERTY keyboard can appear on the bottom screen while the top screen runs apps as normal. Kyocera has made changes to Android to enable integration with the two screens and extra multitasking options. Developers will eventually get an API to help them take advantage of these features and think of new ways for their apps to “simultask.”
Sprint plans to bring the Kyocera Echo, which runs Android 2.2, to customers this spring. The phone will retail for $189 on a two-year contract. The Echo will come with an extra battery to help deal with the additional power consumption of a dual-screen device.
- Sprint’s nationwide 3G network and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)*
- Wi-Fi hotspot capability, which supports wireless connections for up to five devices
- 5-megapixel camera with flash, autofocus and digital zoom
- 720p HD camcorder to quickly capture those on-the-go memorable moments
- Corporate (Exchange ActiveSync®) and personal (POP & IMAP) e-mail, IM (Google Talk™), text messaging
- Media player with a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack
- Stereo Bluetooth® 2.1 (+ EDR)
- Full HTML Web browser with Google Search™
- 1GHz Snapdragon processor (QSD 8650 Android)
- 1 gigabyte (GB) of onboard memory and an 8GB microSD™ card for the external memory card slot supporting cards up to 32GB
- Voice and text prompts in both English and Spanish
- Spare 1370 mAh battery