Called the Kyocera Echo, the smartphone features a patent-pending pivot hinge designed to enable the smartphone’s two displays to operate independently, ether side-by-side or combined to form a 4.7-inch integrated display. The device will use Google’s Android 2.2 operating system and will operate over Sprint’s CDMA EV-DO network rather than Clearwire’s WiMAX network.
The phone will be customizable and include pre-loaded apps to take advantage of the dual-screen. VueQue, for instance, allows users to watch a video in one display while browsing, queuing and buffering additional videos in the other.
Kyocera Echo also offers four viewing modes. Single-screen mode acts like a single-display touchscreen smartphone; Simul-task mode displays two of the phone’s seven core apps running at the same time but independently on dual displays; Optimized mode allows both displays to support a single app, while tablet mode enables one application to spread across both screens for a full 4.7-inch viewing area.
Ross Rubin, an analyst at the NPD Group, told FierceWireless that the Echo’s two screens can provide greater flexibility for users. “However, when working with an operating system with a wide variety of apps across a wide array of hardware such as Windows or Android, it can be difficult to attract third-party software developers to take real advantage of a dual-screen device, which limits its potential. This is in contrast to products that are created specifically to support dual screens such as the Nintendo DS.”