Kyocera Echo

Android Gets Challenged to a Duel


Using two monitors helps you breeze through tasks on the computer, so why not bring the principle to the phone? That’s what Kyocera (yeah that budget handset brand) has done with the Echo, which features two 3.5-inch WVGA displays joined together via a nifty “pivot hinge”, enabling the screens to work both in tandem and independently depending on the situation — kind of like Toshiba’s Libretto W100.

In Simul-Task Mode, users can assign any two of the phone’s seven “core” applications to their own screen for simultaneous operation, giving users the power to watch Flash videos on one display while reliving the weekend through Facebook on the other. So-called Optimized Mode is similarly designed to let specific apps such a virtual keyboard and email client compliment each other. Tablet Mode alternatively allows one app to overtake both screens to form one 4.7-inch 800 x 960 display. Each of these twists are appealing, but the downside is that Kyocera has had to extensively customize the Android 2.2 OS to make it all work, hinting the device won’t partake in regular Android updates. Most third party apps also can’t make use of these screen’s special talents. Still, when you consider its other specs such as a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor, GPS, integrated Wi-Fi, 3G with Hotspotting for up to five devices, and an included 8GB micro SD card, the Echo definitely has appeal. Especially since it’ll be priced at $99 after a $100 mail in rebate. We’re just not thrilled about dealing with double the finger prints — or Sprint. The other catch is that the ship date is vaguely set as “2011”, but you eager beavers in the crowd can at least sign up to be directly notified by Sprint via the link below.

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