Sprint promised an "industry first" at last night's NYC press event, which featured appearances from CEO Dan Hesse and illusionist David Blaine, and to some extent, it delivered. The carrier unveiled the Kyocera Echo, a smartphone that features dual 3.5-inch touchscreens.
Built around the idea of multitasking on a smartphone, the Echo features a task manager that allows users to launch different tasks in either of its two screens. The phone also incorporates a patented "pivot hinge" that enables one screen to swing beneath the other, so the user can operate in traditional single-screen smartphone mode.
Kyocera defines four different operating modes. Single-Screen Mode includes all the functionality of a single-display touchscreen smartphone. Simul-Task Mode includes two of the phone's seven core apps running concurrently but independently on the device's dual displays. Optimized Mode includes both displays supporting a single, optimized app with complementary functionality and enhanced usability, and Tablet Mode, which involves one application spread across both screens.
The Echo boasts a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, two dual 3.5-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreens (800 x 480 pixels or 800 x 960 pixels when opened), 5-megapixel camera, removable 1370mAh battery; it also includes a spare battery (1370 mAh) with portable charger that can also tether to the phone as an external power supply, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and hot spot support for up to five devices.
The Kyocera Echo will be available this spring for $199.99 with a two-year contract or eligible upgrade from Sprint.