Feb 7th, 2011

David Blaine and Sprint just unveiled the Kyocera Echo, a dual-screened Android Device that sounds rather awesome based on initial details. Sprint just issued a press release providing more information, so let’s dig into some of the meat- just what is the Kyocera Echo all about?

Here is the general concept:

  • The Kyocera Echo has 2-screens, each screen being 3.5-inches and 800 x 480 pixel resolution
  • When closed, the Echo appears to be a regular phone
  • Unhinge/swivel the echo and can see BOTH screens at the SAME TIME
  • You can either run different applications on each screen (single screen mode) or you can “combine” the screens and run one application on both with an effective 4.7-inch screen size

I can picture a pretty enjoyable experience of watching YouTube on the top screen while browsing videos on the bottom, perhaps pressing a full-screen button to make the video expand across both screens:

I can think of a lot of great uses for the Echo’s dual-screen display, and to be honest, I’m surprised we haven’t seen something similar already. I’ve been suggesting this in articles and podcasts for the better half of two years.

Now I know you’ve probably got two key questions:

  • Is the processor powerful enough to run two screens at once?
  • Even if it can, will the battery last more than 27 minutes?

The Kyocera Echo runs on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor which isn’t dual-core but is pretty darn good, so we’re optimistic it can/will hold up. Kyocera realizes battery life could be a concern, so they’ve packaged in an external battery charger and a secondary battery- very smart move.

Kyocera has optimized several dual-screen experiences that include:

  • VueQue – YouTube where video is in the top screen and browsing videos is in the bottom
  • E-Mail Messaging – View/Compose messages in the top and type in the Full QWERTY on the bottom!
  • Browser: view 2 websites simultaneously
  • Gallery: picture on top, thumbnails for browsing on bottom

Some other key specs you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Android 2.2
  • 5-megapixel camera with flash, autofocus and digital zoom
  • 720p HD camcorder
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Wi-Fi with hot-spot feature
  • Exchange ActiveSynce, POP & IMAP e-mail
  • Stereo Bluetooth 2.1 (+ EDR)
  • 1GHz Snapdragon processor
  • 1GB internal memory
  • MicroSD slot with 8GB microSD pre-packaged
  • 1340 mAh spare battery

Wondering if the device is big and bulky? It’s not – only .67 inches thick. The original Droid and iPhone are about half-an-inch thick so it does have a bit extra heft, but that’s to be expected.

My once concern is regarding how the Echo will play with Android apps on the market. Will it have compatability issues? Sprint has already opened a developer program for the device that will include an SDK allowing devs to optimize their apps and games for the dual screen interface, but how about those who haven’t optimized… will there be any complications or problems? Let’s hope not because the Echo is a cool idea.

Kyocera has a mini-site open at EchoByKyocera.com where you can see more details including a video.

As does Sprint, with their portal being located at Now.Sprint.com/Echo/:

But if you’re looking for more info… why not head over to the Kyocera Echo Forum at AndroidForums? Got a great idea for a dual-screen integration? Share it!

[Via Sprint]

local_offer    Kyocera  Kyocera Echo  Sprint