Russian smartphone vendor Yota has launched its latest YotaPhone 2 handset, which includes a smartphone display on one side and an e-reader screen on the other, allowing users to carry two devices in one.
The new phone, an updated version of the original Yota double-display phone that launched last December, is now available in Russia and parts of Europe and the Middle East, according to a news story by The Next Digit. The YotaPhone 2 is also slated to arrive in the United States in 2015 for the first time, the article said.
Several features make the YotaPhone 2 unique compared with any other smartphone on the market today, including its double-sided capacitive touch-screens and its claimed 100-hour battery life for e-reader users and a claimed two days of basic phone usage.
The original YotaPhone debuted in December 2013 with smaller 4.3-inch screen front and back, according to an earlier eWEEK report on the original phone. The new YotaPhone 2 gets larger displays, including a 5-inch 1,080p AMOLED front display and a 4.7-inch always-on E-Ink display on the rear of the device for e-reading.
The smartphone is priced at $876 presently in Great Britain on the Yota Website, making it a high-priced, yet unique device. The handset measures 5.7 inches long, 2.73 inches wide and 0.35 inches thick.
The YotaPhone 2 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 2,500mAh battery and 32GB of internal storage.
The smartphone's rear main camera is an 8MP auto-focus model with LED flash, while the front camera is a 2.1MP unit. Both the front and back displays are covered in strong Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for impact resistance.
The devices also include a built-in accelerometer, a compass, a gyroscope, a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, near-field communication (NFC) capabilities and wireless charging features.
In addition, the YotaPhone 2 also lets users turn their device's main display screen into a "living Instagram cover" using the included YotaCover feature, which automatically changes screen images for users.
The devices, at least in Europe, the Middle East and Russia where they are sold today, also include 24/7 technical support and help through a call-in hotline, while owners who have a problem with their phones can get a courtesy loaner phone if their devices need to be returned for service, according to the company.
Yota phones were first sold in the marketplace in 2009, according to the company.
Of course, while the YotaPhone 2 might cost as much as $876 when it goes on sale in the United States in 2015, that's still a far cry from the prices bring sought for luxury designer smartphones that are already on the market.
While an $876 YotaPhone 2 is more costly than other popular phones in the U.S. today, including the Phone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 models, it still doesn't hold a candle to the fancy, over-the-top lifestyle phones that are sold by a small number of luxury goods makers who build their phones with adornments such as ostrich skin coverings, titanium bodies, and diamond- or emerald-encrusted cases. These luxury models, which are priced from about $6,900 to some $250,000, come from makers such as England's Vertu and Switzerland's Savelli.