Yota Dodge The Osborne Effect With Next Generation Dual-Screen Android Smartphone

Posted: Feb 24 2014, 5:06am CST | by , Updated: Feb 24 2014, 6:26am CST, in Mobile Phones


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Yota Dodge The Osborne Effect With  Dual-Screen Android Smartphone

Russian smartphone manufacturer Yota Devices has announced the sequel to their dual-screen smartphone. The YotaPhone 2 takes on board many lessons from the design process of the first handset, as well as matching recent hardware improvements in the Android ecosystem. More importantly, CEO Vladislav Martynov announced a trade-in program to minimise the ‘Osborne Effect‘ on sales of the first handset.

Yota’s second smartphone will be available in three variants (European, Chinese, and American) by the end of 2014, and as Martynov demonstrated the prototype device (which is on display at Mobile World Congress this week) he introduced the trade-in program. While the finer details and value are still to be set, the principle is simple. YotaPhone 1 owners who wish to move up to the YotaPhone 2 will have the opportunity to participate in the program with their original handset.

I would assume that the trade-in will reflect the amortizied value of the first handset after a year of use, and may allow the existing users to be first in line to receive the new design.

This is smart thinking from Yota. They are relatively new entrants into the public conscious. By announcing the YotaPhone 2 this early in the production schedule they are following a similar strategy to their first handset (which used CES 2013 as a platform before a release late in 2013), but they are also illustrating their commitment to their first-adopter supporters.

Those supporters have been providing a lot of feedback to the Russian team, which has broadly speaking fallen into two areas, discovering bugs and providing feedback on the existing hardware, or suggesting new features to add.

A cursory glance at the new hardware highlights the two major changes. The first is in the styling. The boxlike straight edges and modernist styling are no more, replaced with gentle curves and styling that fits with the current smartphone fashion.

Secondly, a lot of work has been put into the second electronic paper display. It is larger, at 4.7 inches, and has a capacitive layer allowing a touch based UI to apply on the screen (as opposed to the touch strip below the screen on the first model). There will also be a model with an optional backlight across the three major variants.

With a move to the Snapdragon 800 series architecture, a quad core 2.3 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of onboard storage with microSD card support, and a larger 2550 mAh battery with wireless charging, the second YotaPhone certainly matches the expectations of the current high-end Android device market. It also includes the sensors and software that allows it to act as a fitness tracker, which is becoming a key battleground in the announced 2014 smartphone space both in hardware and software.

By leveraging the second screen on their smartphone, Martynov and Yota have a distinct USP to other handset manufacturers. Fitness is one. Gaming is another, with a chess game being demonstrated at MWC on the low power display. A sports result service, and improvements to the existing second screen applications are also planned.

An SDK will shortly be available for selected developers to access the eInk functionality, although Yota will be evaluating the developers to maintain the quality and functionality of any apps using the second display.

As a small and agile smartphone company, Yota are playing their cards very well. They have taken the idea of a dual-screened device and shown competency in design, manufacturing, and distribution. More importantly, they are aware they need a long lead time to get the press and media interested in their second device while keeping their user-based engaged with the first smartphone that is currently on sale and will be the lead consumer device until late in Q4 2014.

Source: Forbes

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