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The Bulletin

This innovative new smartphone is from Russia, not Apple

Posting in Technology

Apple's iPhone, when it was released in 2007, completely changed the way companies built smartphones going forward. Not a lot has changed in the look and feel of smartphones since then. Sure they've gotten thinner, faster, etc. But since the iPhone came out its been a mostly touchscreen, curved-edge world (with the notable exception of Blackberry hanging onto its physical keyboards).

But one Russian company is looking to change that. Yota Devices has developed a smartphone that at first glance looks pretty much like any other smartphone in the iPhone-era. But flip it over. Is that a Kindle?! Not quite, but it does have two 4.3-inch screens: one, a full-color LCD screen and the other an electronic paper display that you would find in an e-reader.

The advantage of Yota's Android-powered, dual-screen phone?

On the traditional LCD screen you can perform standard functions like watching videos or playing games. With the e-paper screen you can read a long news article, for example, without draining the battery. According to a press release you can even display important information, like a boarding pass or ticket, even if the battery dies.

“Today if you want to check your email, calendar or social media page, you have to pick up your phone, turn it on, open the application and only then can you receive the information. With YotaPhone, this information will appear on the electronic paper display effortlessly, continuously and updated in real time,” said Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov, in a statement.

Will the Yota phone be a smartphone game changer? At this point It's too early to tell. The phone won't actually go on sale in Russia until late next year. And as Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at tech research firm Gartner Inc., tells the Wall Street Journal, breaking into the smartphone market isn't easy: "They have a novel idea but an unknown brand. The phone market is a lot about brand and fashion, so competition will be tough."

Maybe the innovation of this dual-screen phone will be up for the challenge.

New Archetype in Smartphones Unveiled Today [Yota Devices]

In War of Smartphones, The Russians Are Coming [Wall Street Journal]

Photo: Yota Devices

— By on December 13, 2012, 2:30 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure