At last year's Mobile World Congress, the YotaPhone caught our eye. And why not? It has two screens--an LCD touchscreen on one side and an e-ink screen on the other. It's a cool-looking device, and there are even practical reasons for the two-screen approach. See all MWC news. View our MWC live blog.
The bummer? As impressive as the YotaPhone looked last year, it wasn't as if it was coming to the U.S. any time soon. The device was going on sale in Russia, but Russian phonemaker Yota was still talking to U.S. carriers about bringing the phone to these shores.
That talk apparently paid off. YotaPhone is back at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and it's finally relevant to U.S. consumers. The phone is expected to reach North America by early 2015.
Our sister site Greenbot has the details: Yota is coming out with a new version of its dual-screen phone that upgrades the e-ink screen and improves some usability issues with the phone. (You can now respond to notifications directly on the e-ink screen, instead of having to flip back and forth between the two screens of the YotaPhone to handle your business.) The new version hits Europe, the Middle East, and Africa by the final quarter of 2014; its North American debut will happen three or four months after that.
So what makes this two-screen approach practical? As noted in the video report from IDG News Service that accompanies this article, e-ink screens uses less battery life when compared to LCD displays. So it can remain on consistently without putting too much of a hit on your phone's battery. That makes the YotaPhone useful for passive activities like checking email or your Twitter stream.
We'll be keeping an eye out for YotaPhone--and both of its screens--as the North American launch gets closer.