NEW YORK--After weeks of teasing an "industry first," Sprint finally took the wraps off its secret project and unveiled the Kyocera Echo, the first dual touch-screen smartphone, at a special event in New York today.
Available later this spring for $199.99 with a two-year contract, the Kyocera Echo boasts two 3.5-inch WVGA touch screens and a "pivot hinge" that allows you to place the two displays side by side to form a larger 4.7-inch display. In development for more than a year and a half (even longer for the hardware), the Echo runs Android 2.2 and features software that is optimized to take advantage of the two screens.
There are actually four modes in which you can use the Android 2.2 device: standard, tablet, optimized, and simultasking. In standard mode, you can use the Echo as a traditional touch-screen smartphone. The pivot hinge allows you to tuck the second display under the first, so you can navigate and operate the handset like many of today's latest devices. Meanwhile, tablet mode lets you view and interact with an app on both screens.
The optimized and simultask modes are a little more advanced in their capabilities. The former supports a single app and gives you the main view on one screen, and the app's complementary features and functionality on the second screen. For example, if you're checking e-mail, you'll get a view of your full inbox on one side of the screen, and the second will give display the full text of a selected message. Another example is the photo gallery. You can get a full view of a photo on the top screen and a thumbnail photo gallery on the bottom.
However, the simultask mode is where the Echo's true attraction might lie. In this mode, you'll be able to take multitasking to a new level as you'll be able to use two apps concurrently with each displayed on one of the dual touch screens.… Read more