In 2013, Russian company Yota Devices shook up the world of smartphone design with the YotaPhone, a device with a traditional LCD screen on one side and an always-on electronic paper display on the other, and powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. In a world where smartphone design can struggle to stand out, the YotaPhone’s second screen delivers a unique set of features. The always-on black-and-white display is ideal for avid readers, those craving longer battery life, and anyone just looking for a smartphone that’s a little unusual.
Now the company is back with a more refined follow-up, the YotaPhone 2, which Yota Devices is bringing to the US through an Indiegogo campaign. Launching a phone in the U.S. via crowdfunding is unorthodox, but understandable given that Yota Devices doesn’t have the same brand recognition or resources as established device makers such as Samsung and Motorola. And two weeks into the 60-day Indiegogo campaign, the company had raised over 450 percent of its $50,000 goal.
The dual-screen design remains the YotaPhone 2’s claim to mobile fame. But the new phone sports larger, higher-resolution screens than its predecessor: A bright and colorful 5-inch 1080p AMOLED screen excels at displaying movies and games, while an always-on 960x540 touchscreen electronic paper display on the opposite side is perfect for displaying text of all sorts, including books, social media and notifications, while using a small fraction of the power of the color screen.
Capable of displaying 16 shades of gray, the electronic paper screen is also great for displaying Google Maps with minimal demands on your battery, so you can get where you need to go without needing a recharge upon arrival.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor powers both screens, keeping Android and all your favorite apps running smoothly and efficiently. When you do need to recharge the YotaPhone 2, after up to five days of reading on the electronic paper display or two days of basic smartphone use, you won’t have to wait long—or even look for a charging cable. And with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 built in, the YotaPhone 2 can come back from the dead up to 75 percent faster than other smartphones when used with a compatible certified Quick Charge 2.0 charger (click to download a current list of certified accessories).
Yota Devices has made its new phone more durable and easier to hold, too. Both screens are covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and the glass covering the electronic paper side of the YotaPhone 2 is curved, tapering toward the edges. This makes for a more attractive device, while the rounded edges sit comfortably in your palm while you’re using the color AMOLED screen. An 8-megapixel camera with an LED flash is placed above the electronic paper screen, and there’s a 2-megapixel sensor on the other side for selfies.
The YotaPhone 2 is scheduled to ship to its Indiegogo backers in early August, right before its general launch in North America.
[UPDATE: According to their Indiegogo page, Yota Devices has canceled plans to ship the YotaPhone 2 in North America. Please check that site for udpates.]