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Yota Phone Launches With Secondary E-Ink Display

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the waiting-for-pixel-qi dept.

Cellphones 72

OldJuke writes "Called the YotaPhone, the device pairs a traditional LCD color touch-screen on one side with a black-and-white, electronic-paper display on the other, allowing users to continuously view data in real time without having to constantly wake up their phones and drain their batteries. General interaction will be done through the LCD screen, but the e-paper display allows an image to be displayed at all times — from maps, airline boarding passes and family photos to Twitter messages and emails — but only uses power when the picture changes. BBC News interviewed the company's leader, Vlad Martynov, for a hands-on demonstration."

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Finally! (5, Interesting)

Grantbridge (1377621) | about 8 months ago | (#45595089)

I've been asking for one of these for years. Battery drain on a LCD screen is too high for a phone, eink makes a much better screen.

Re:Finally! (4, Interesting)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 8 months ago | (#45595165)

Same, but I want one where the main screen is color e-ink. Mirasol color e-ink displays have been in Korea and China for years now on tablets. What is taking so long?

Plus touch (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45595361)

I want both the things you ask for and:

Touch screen also needs to be on the eInk side too. As it currently is, you do swipe gestures below the screen to operate it, which makes it not good for lots of things.

(Also nice to have, ditch the Google part of Android and gives us a clean Android install. My wife just flipped when I told her what she'd been watching on Youtube on her Android tablet. She never realized it records everything you do and associates it with the Google account).

Re:Plus touch (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45595799)

"Also nice to have, ditch the Google part of Android and gives us a clean Android install."

I'm not even going to comment on how dumb this is, I think it speaks for itself. Want to ditch the Microsoft part of Windows while you're at it?

Re:Plus touch (3, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45596177)

"Also nice to have, ditch the Google part of Android and gives us a clean Android install."

I'm not even going to comment on how dumb this is, I think it speaks for itself. Want to ditch the Microsoft part of Windows while you're at it?

There's a quick and easy command to do that: mkfs /dev/sda1

Re:Plus touch (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 8 months ago | (#45598167)

There's a quick and easy command to do that: mkfs /dev/sda1

Well, except that with the (censored) way they ship phones, you'd need to root it first.

Say what you will about WIndows; at least there you have an option to remove the bloatware. On Android you're stuck with it for life.

Re:Plus touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45604969)

hahahahahaha the funny, it burns.

Re: Plus touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45596289)

http://www.reactos.org

Re:Plus touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45596415)

It's not that dumb. He just wants it w/o all the linking to the Google account.

Do an install of the AOSP and don't load the Google Apps on it. You lose out on some things you may be used to, but there are always other apps that will do what you want. Short of that, use apps that limit other apps permissions and use an app firewall to keep things certain from accessing the 'net, if you need.

Re:Plus touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45598615)

I'm not even going to comment on how dumb this is, I think it speaks for itself. Want to ditch the Microsoft part of Windows while you're at it?

It's not dumb at all.

You apparently never read about Cyanogenmod, Paranoidandroid or any number of Android distributions that ship without Google's apps. If you want, you can install the Google apps on your phone. If you don't want, you don't have to.

Re:Plus touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45605391)

has cyanogenmod or paranoidandroid ever had a fully functional release?

"I'm free from Google's tyranny but now my device doesn't take photos or have bluetooth and the battery drains 30 percent faster"! Free at last!

Re:Plus touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45605373)

"Also nice to have, ditch the Google part of Android and gives us a clean Android install."

I'm not even going to comment on how dumb this is, I think it speaks for itself. Want to ditch the Microsoft part of Windows while you're at it?

Yes! Because it's not stupid at all.

I would love an install of windows that didn't have internet explorer, or pushes for obtaining office or outlook. I don't want it to be hooked into windows live mail or skydrive. I don't want my start page to be msn or bing. Windows 8 installs try to lead you do the path of signing up for a Hotmail account for no real benefit. Windows phone 7 (and 8 and 8.5) is the same way.

Microsoft got the idea from android's "to use your cell phone you need a gmail account".

Give me a device that powers on and connects to the internet (or makes a phone call) and let me handle it from there.

Re:Plus touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45606449)

But you don't need a gmail account to use an android phone. When I got my Nexus 5, it let me skip the gmail sign in step.

Re:Finally! (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 8 months ago | (#45595523)

Consumer demand.

At the saving of battery life and natural non back-lighting you loose refresh speed, and brightness of the device, and the ability to use it in the dark without some external light shining on it.

We have the Kindle and the Kindle Fire. One with ePaper and one with an LCD display. The Kindle is only for reading, the Kindle Fire is for much more.
When given an option people usually choose more.

In countries such as Korea and China, battery life may be more necessity over more features.

Also companies like to try out product ideas in other countries as to get a general feel for the product before they go into mass production.

Re:Finally! (2)

DriveDog (822962) | about 8 months ago | (#45595827)

Actually, it's what marketing types THINK would be consumer demand, since they haven't actually tried it in the US. I think we all know how reliable that is.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45596071)

At the saving of battery life and natural non back-lighting you set refresh speed free

Is that what you wanteed to say? It's what you actually said. "Lose" and "loose" are not synonyms.

Re:Finally! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45597075)

Mod parent +1 Condescending Twat

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45599373)

Sometimes people call me condescending... that's when you talk down to people.

Re:Finally! (2)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 8 months ago | (#45596951)

Actually the Mirasol displays I'm referring to have even faster refresh rates than LCDs and can play videos just fine. The backlighting can be solved just like the backlit eink Nook and Kindles.
After doing some googling it looks like they stopped production and development last year because they were too expensive. :(

Re:Finally! (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45597097)

The backlighting can be solved just like the backlit eink Nook and Kindles.

Kindles are front lit, aren't they?

Re:Finally! (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 8 months ago | (#45595409)

Similar idea to the Entourage eDGe. I thought these had fallen by the wayside (about two weeks after I bought one, incidentally) but at least the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] doesn't mention that they've gone out of business.

Thus: Smart Watch (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#45595581)

Smart Watches are meant to fill the same function, and some (like the Pebble) use e-Ink.

Myself, I don't find the battery drain for turning on the screen a moment significant enough to matter.

Re:Thus: Smart Watch (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 8 months ago | (#45595773)

There are applications where you'll want to view the same image for a long time, like a map or a book. Both uses stand out in my mind because I just did a lot of traveling, where I couldn't be certain of when I'd next get a chance to plug in my phone. I'd have to flash it on to glance at a map, then shut it off and walk some more.

(Not to mention that I'd have to unlock it each time, a slightly cumbersome procedure while walking, though that seems a problem that could be solved with suitable programming.)

Re:Finally! (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 8 months ago | (#45595933)

I've been asking for one of these for years.

So why didn't you just buy one years ago [wikipedia.org] ?

You could have had not only an e-ink display, but a battery life of over a week, and you could not only drop it on the ground but run over it a few times with a pickup truck without damaging it. All for under $50 in the USA, and that's only because it was marked up as an import.

The only down side is that you would have an actual phone used for talking to other people with phones, rather than disgruntled avian simulator. Some folks consider that to be a problem.

Re:Finally! (3, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 8 months ago | (#45596225)

The only down side is that you would have an actual phone used for talking to other people with phones, rather than disgruntled avian simulator. Some folks consider that to be a problem.

The Yota will let you display a map, a book, or other useful stuff on its e-ink display.

The Fone apparently couldn't even display SMS messages properly.

Sorry if I missed a joke, but if you're serious, there's no comparison.

If someone made a phone like the Yota in a slider format (or some other way to get a keyboard in there), I could be all over it.

Re:Finally! (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 8 months ago | (#45599941)

You complained about battery life, said that the e-ink display was a better option, and implied that you had been waiting years for a device which could provide both.

If your other requirements were just viewing maps or reading books then you didn't need to wait so many years, as you could have fulfilled those needs with an Android powered ereader like the Sony PRS-T1 back in 2011.

If, on the other hand, you have been waiting years for a smartphone with two 4.3" displays, a 1.7 GHz Krait CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32 GB flash, that runs Android 4.2.2 and isn't available in North America, then yes, this is exactly what you have been waiting years for.

Moto Fone (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 8 months ago | (#45596627)

Motorola had made one - and it was dirt cheap - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_Fone [wikipedia.org]

It was around 30$ without a contract if I remember correctly.

Durability? (3, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#45595155)

I like having a working phone after the inevitable drop, which means putting it in a case. This phone looks cool, but unless it's built to be durable without an additional case, or they have a custom case to make both screens usable, I'm no interested.

Re:Durability? (3, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about 8 months ago | (#45595551)

When was the last time you found a cellphone case that wasn't custom shaped for the phone? It's not like they have uniform physical characteristics.

Re:Durability? (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#45595769)

How many of them are clear on the back? Normal style cases wouldn't do the trick for this phone.

Re:Durability? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#45595957)

How many of them are clear on the back? Normal style cases wouldn't do the trick for this phone.

...huh? the point was that NO PHONE takes any cover made for any other phone*. so of course the covers would be made for it. there is no universal cases that fit nowadays.

furthermore, most android phones from random manufactures go without their cases and last just fine, it's pretty much only apple who designs their phones so that they look pretty in pictures but need a plastic cover when in use. from the pictures this doesn't look like a phone you'd want to stick in a cover anyhow.

*iphone4s being an exception?

Re:Durability? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45596245)

How many of them are clear on the back? Normal style cases wouldn't do the trick for this phone.

There are a number of Nexus 5 cases that are clear on the back, and it doesn't even have a rear display: http://amzn.to/1cZ1rYN [amzn.to]

Re:Durability? (1)

Cally (10873) | about 8 months ago | (#45595573)

I've slung my Blackberry Z10 around a hell of a lot, including hammering it, hard, on a wooden desk and hurling it against my study wall hard enough to pop the back off, battery out etc -- about the only good thing I can say about it is that it's built like a brick shithouse. It's been accidentally dropped onto floors and ground of various hardnesses many times, too. Not a mark on it.

A phone should not need a case (2)

knarf (34928) | about 8 months ago | (#45595585)

Cases are for iPhones and similarly fragile design statements - a phone should not need one. This does put some constraints on the freedom the designers have - no glass to the edge, a buffer zone between fragile materials and the casing (which should not be made of a fragile material), etc. As the phone is first and foremost a tool this is not an unreasonable restriction.

We use Motorola Defy [wikipedia.org] phones here on the farm. They seem to survive just fine without needing a case. They look rather similar to most touchscreen phones so the compromises needed for survivability are not that onerous.

Re:A phone should not need a case (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 8 months ago | (#45595793)

Yeah, and everyone uses their phones in the same environment with the same stress. Thanks for your input, but I need a case.

Re:A phone should not need a case (1)

puto (533470) | about 8 months ago | (#45596349)

The Motoroal Defy is a military spec waterproof, shockproof, and heatproof phone. It is built so you do not need a case, his point was that if you are an environment that warrants a tough phone they are available. Samsung also makes one called the Rugby.

Re:A phone should not need a case (1)

puto (533470) | about 8 months ago | (#45596295)

Highly underrated phone even at 3 years old. I have six sister in laws in Colombia, and since I work for a telco I tend to give them phones every xmas, and six months later most are broken(I am looking at you iphones) and so I bought six Defys on ebay, put ICS on them, and I have heard nary a peep from them, the girls love them and they have been dropped in rivers, streets, babies have thrown them against the wall, and they keep on trucking.

Re:A phone should not need a case (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 8 months ago | (#45596669)

I used a G'Zone for years (mil-spec flip phone). Bought it specifically because I know I drop my phones a lot. not very feature-ful (but it was 6 years ago), but it took a licking and kept on ticking.

Re:Durability? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#45597467)

I've dropped my Kyocera more than once and it's never broken. A case? If it was in a protective case it wouldn't fit in my pocket. As it only cost a hundred bucks with no subsidy, if it does break I'll just buy a new one.

What kind of cheap but expensive phone do you have that is so delicate?

Re:Durability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45601669)

eInk doesn't die easily: http://www.eink.com/rugged.html .

Re:Durability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45614583)

Great demo. If only the displays they put in e-readers were half as durable as that one. I bought a Kobo Mini last year, kept it in my coat pocket and the screen broke with no visible damage, granted I may have put my coat on my bed and laid on top of it (forgetting I had the Kobo Mini in the pocket), but it still wouldn't have been stressed half as much as what is shown in that video. Also my brother-in-law has recently had to buy a new Kindle as the screen on that broke.

Yota phone? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45595181)

Shouldn't the headline read: "With Secondary E-Ink Display YOTA Phone Launches"

"Smart phone wars begun they have."

Re:Yota phone? (1)

unitron (5733) | about 8 months ago | (#45595211)

--YOTA, YOTA, YOTA.

Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display... (3, Interesting)

advid.net (595837) | about 8 months ago | (#45595319)

e-ink display lasts even not powered, so one day you may have something personal/compromising/secret displayed there and if a bug freeze the phone you won't be able to erase that quickly by shutting it off, as one can do with LCD or OLED display.

Re:Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display. (1)

Grantbridge (1377621) | about 8 months ago | (#45595377)

I've had LCD displays crash "on" on my Android and the only way to turn it off was to remove the battery physically. Some phones have non-removable batteries making this an existing problem.

Re:Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45606453)

I've had LCD displays crash "on" on my Android and the only way to turn it off was to remove the battery physically. Some phones have non-removable batteries making this an existing problem.

You can restart a phone with non-removable batteries by holding the power button for 15~30 seconds (time depends on the model). It works at the hardware level, so even crashed/frozen ones will restart.

Re:Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display. (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 8 months ago | (#45595431)

Given the average update frequency and lack of greyscaling, I don't think anyone's going to be watching pr0n on these.

Re:Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display. (1)

Teun (17872) | about 8 months ago | (#45597713)

That's why we have ASCII 'art' :)

Re:Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display. (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 8 months ago | (#45599307)

Spoken like somebody who wasn't introduced to digital porn until after 1995.

Re:Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display. (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 8 months ago | (#45638017)

That's where you're wrong. Move with the times.

Re:Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45598375)

I hear that paper has the same issue, that if you print out something compromising, someone might see it before it can be erased...

Re:Ooops! Got it frozen with compromising display. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45606043)

You also hear that you can burn/shred/scrap the paper, would you do so with your smartphone ?

Best/worst inevitable feature (4, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 8 months ago | (#45595375)

An app that displays the cover of the book you're reading on the LCD side.

It kills the battery but oh! the conversations you'll strike up on the subway!

.

Good idea for tickets (1)

Jabrwock (985861) | about 8 months ago | (#45595415)

Most scanners at airports and movie theatres I've gone to are all geared to read paper tickets, and require all sorts of intervention when you try to use the airline's app to display your e-boarding pass. e-paper would be a lot easier to read than LCD.

Re:Good idea for tickets (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 8 months ago | (#45595453)

Really? I've only ever tried this once, at Bristol international airport, but the scanner read off my LCD screen just fine.

Re:Good idea for tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45595583)

The movie theater chain here has a barcode for the loyalty program that you can use on a display. At minimum brightness on most phones, the scanner won't read it and it must be maximum brightness.

Re:Good idea for tickets (1)

JoshRosenbaum (841551) | about 8 months ago | (#45596979)

I've used barcodes on my phone at the theater multiple times just fine and I haven't messed with my brightness settings on my phone. The one time I saw that it didn't work, the guy said he tried to scan it in the wrong part of ordering, so nothing was happening. He started the transaction over and it scanned fine. I wouldn't be surprised if some people have phones with weird screens or screen protectors that mess with the reading of the barcode, though.

Re:Good idea for tickets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45605425)

The ability to read off of a phone screen has nothing to do with the phone itself. It's a property of the scanning device.

Generic models that read paper bar codes were fine for the past two decades, but are simply not capable of getting a signal when the laser it uses just gets reflected off the glass/absorbed or that the scanner's sensors are confused by the light your phone emits.

So, congrats on living in some super awesome area where they decided to spring for technology to be able to read people's doohickeys. The vast majority of retailers still look at the price of phone readable scanners and say "screw that!"

Re:Good idea for tickets (1)

Teun (17872) | about 8 months ago | (#45597777)

I've never had a problem checking in with first my N900 and now the Nexus4.

Except in Aberdeen, Scotland, it works but they insist on a printed copy...

Re:Good idea for tickets (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 8 months ago | (#45598939)

I've never had a problem checking in with first my N900 and now the Nexus4.

Except in Aberdeen, Scotland, it works but they insist on a printed copy...

Of course - a TRUE Scotsman would demand the paper ticket, because that paper can be used for notes, or toilet paper, or starting a fire later on. Why turn down that free piece of paper? You paid for it after all!

Re:Good idea for tickets (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 8 months ago | (#45598911)

I fly several times a month, and have never had a problem using the eticket feature on my smartphone (Galaxy Note 2). American, Delta, Alaska Air - works like a charm at SBA, LAX, SEA, SFO, JFK, MSP...

Nokia Glance (2)

Aphadon (3402087) | about 8 months ago | (#45595497)

It's not e-ink, but Nokia also solves this problem to some degree by switching the screen into a low power state, turning off a lot of the pixels and reducing the available colours. This allows you to have a clock, notifications and even a background image visible all the time when the screen is 'off' without draining much battery power.

Re:Nokia Glance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45596251)

Isn't it an OLED (or Super one) feature ?

Re:Nokia Glance (1)

YalithKBK (2886373) | about 8 months ago | (#45596437)

One of the many features from my old Nokia that I miss. *sigh*

Displays on both sides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45595595)

where TF do you put the battery in?

Re:Displays on both sides? (1)

Teun (17872) | about 8 months ago | (#45597801)

In between the LCD and e-ink screens.

Re:Displays on both sides? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 8 months ago | (#45599417)

The middle?

Awesome tool for show-offs (1)

azrael29a (1349629) | about 8 months ago | (#45595603)

Great! Now everyone on the bus will see on the e-ink display what I am doing on the LCD. All the private messages, photos, etc.

Dummy version for kids could be called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45595947)

So a plastic dummy version of this phone for kids could be called TOYOTA.

moD down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45597129)

Sweet! (1)

neorush (1103917) | about 8 months ago | (#45597299)

I have absolutely eaten 50% of my battery in a two hour long meeting because I was constantly paging through documents of notes during the discussion. Most of it is spent with the document just sitting on the display for reference / discussion. I leave the LCD on because I have to keep unlocking the phone with my pin every time someone asks something like "what was that number from March?" This would also make reading more practical, as I often do not do any e-reading during the day because I am worried about battery life over 12hrs.

Pixel Qi? (3, Interesting)

CityZen (464761) | about 8 months ago | (#45599179)

Yes, why don't many more devices use the Pixel Qi display? You know, the one that's a normal color LCD when backlit, or a monochrome very-low-power LCD when front-lit (ie, by ambient lighting). Seems like it would be ideal for phones and smart watches.

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