The Android operating system gets its first dual-screen smartphone in the US thanks to Kyocera and Sprint, the two companies have revealed in New York.
The Kyocera Echo, which will be an exclusive to Sprint (in the US, at least) looks like a suped-up Nintendo DS, but powered by the Android OS.
“This Android-powered device features two high-resolution 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreen displays connected by a patent-pending “pivot hinge” that enables the two displays to operate independently, side-by-side or combined to form an oversized 4.7-inch (diagonally) integrated display,” boasts Sprint on the launch of the new device. The company even wheeled out magician David Blaine in a fish tank to celebrate its arrival.
Sprint says that the new phone will allow people to multitask to their hearts content, messaging on one screen while surfing the web on the other.
“In its closed position, Kyocera Echo is a pocket-friendly, single-display smartphone. When opened, Kyocera Echo reveals a revolutionary new platform for wireless multitasking and gives customers a new level of versatility in Android,” adds Sprint.
Trying to make the most of the new screen real-estate, there will be a Simul-Task Mode that will use seven of the phone’s core apps (messaging, email, web browsing, phone, gallery, contacts and VueQue) and allow them to run concurrently but independently on the dual displays.
However, those looking to go big will be able to use both screens to display a single app on what equates to a 4.7-inch viewing area.
Other specs include a 5-megapixel camera, Android 2.2 OS, Wi-Fi hotspot capability (supports up to 5 devices) and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor (QSD 8650 Android).
The Kyocera Echo will be available this spring for $199.99 with a new 2-year service agreement or eligible upgrade and after a $100 mail-in rebate.
No word yet on whether or not the device will be heading beyond US borders.