Sprint Announces Kyocera Echo: First Dual-Touchscreen Smartphone

By lommadmin

Last year Sprint joined hands with HTC to release the first 4G smartphone, the HTC EVO 4G; and with it they have seen a huge success. This year they hope to repeat that notion by teaming up with Kyocera and introducing yet another Android powered industry first; a dual-touchscreen smartphone. The Kyocera Echo was officially announced this morning. It will sport two high-resolution touchscreen displays that will be connected by their, patent pending, “pivot hinge”. Each screen can operate independently, in conjunction with one another, or combined for an industry largest 4.7 inch diagonal display.

It was a well known fact that for the longest time the iPhone lacked multi-tasking capabilities. Their reasoning was that they wanted to perfect it; do it the right way. Well Apple, consider yourself “one-upped”. With the Echo, Kyocera is aiming to revolutionize the way we multi-task by offering abilities such as using the screens simultaneously for one task.

The Kyocera Echo will be available this Spring and will carry a price tag of $199.99  after mail in rebate. New customers must sign 2-year qualifying rate plan and current customers who are eligible for upgrade will receive the same pricing. Some of the features of this new innovation include:

• Sprint’s nationwide 3G network and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)*

• Wi-Fi hotspot capability, which supports wireless connections for up to five

devices

• 5-megapixel camera with flash, autofocus and digital zoom

• 720p HD camcorder to quickly capture those on-the-go memorable moments

• Corporate (Exchange ActiveSync®) and personal (POP & IMAP) e-mail, IM

(Google Talk™), text messaging

• Media player with a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack

• Stereo Bluetooth® 2.1 (+ EDR)

• Full HTML Web browser with Google Search™

• 1GHz Snapdragon processor (QSD 8650 Android)

• 1 gigabyte (GB) of onboard memory and an 8GB microSD™ card for the

external memory card slot supporting cards up to 32GB

• Voice and text prompts in both English and Spanish

Sold yet? Well I was until too until I saw the spec sheet for it. The Echo isn’t meant to be Sprint’s next flagship device. It’s solid and will perform well, but once you get passed the “wow” factor of the dual-screens, there wasn’t much that impressed me. Here three thoughts for you to chew on regarding the Echo’s hardware:

1) No 4G Support: Now with something flashy like a dual-screen for multi-tasking you’re clearly going after the power user; at the least an above average smartphone user. So why only support Sprint’s 3G?

2) 1GHz Snapdragon Processor: Last year at CES 2010 it was all about 3D TVs. I missed CES 2011 this year but after I spoke to a few people, including our editors, about the hot ticket this year it was all the same: DUAL PROCESSOR smartphones. With  the ATRIX 4G and the DROID Bionic both making headlines to drop this Spring, the Echo will be behind upon release.

3) No Front Facing Camera: A feature that is not quite the standard yet; true. But can you imagine the possibilities of a dual-touchscreen display if you did it was?

So what’s your first take on it? We’ll be sure to announce more details to you as they roll through but feel free to leave us with some feedback and opinions in the comment box. Below you can find some links to learn more about the Kyocera Echo as well as see the full press release:

Customers can visit: www.sprint.com/echo

Full Press Release:

Kyocera Echo, Exclusively from Sprint, Revolutionizes the

Android Experience as the First Dual-Touchscreen Smartphone

Two screens connected by an innovative pivot hinge offer the ability

to complete two tasks at once, taking the ability to multitask to a

powerful new level

Available this spring for $199.99 after mail in rebate;

Visit sprint.com/echo to pre-register and check out images of the

only Android phone with two screens

NEW YORK – Feb. 7, 2011 – Sprint (NYSE: S) and Kyocera Communications Inc.

today announced the first dual-touchscreen Android™ smartphone, Kyocera Echo™,

exclusively from Sprint. This Android-powered device features two high-resolution

3.5-inch WVGA touchscreen displays connected by a patent-pending “pivot hinge”

that enables the two displays to operate independently, side-by-side or combined to

form an oversized 4.7-inch (diagonally) integrated display.

Until now, a single screen on a smartphone could only be used to complete one task

at a time, even with limited multitasking capabilities available on some smartphones.

Kyocera Echo’s second screen provides the ability to do two things at the same

time and get more done – send an email on one screen while surfing the web on

the other, watch a video on one screen while texting on the other, comparison shop

online with one web site on each screen and so much more.

Images and video of Kyocera Echo’s dynamic design in action are available now at

www.echobykyocera.com. Pre-registration begins today at www.sprint.com/echo.

In its closed position, Kyocera Echo is a pocket-friendly, single-display smartphone.

When opened, Kyocera Echo reveals a revolutionary new platform for wireless

multitasking and gives customers a new level of versatility in Android. Its innovative

hardware and optimized software enables consumers to use the touchscreens in four

unique ways:

• Single-Screen Mode with all the functionality of a single-display, touch-

screen smartphone.

• Simul-Task™ Mode with two of the phone’s seven core apps (messaging,

e-mail, Web browsing, phone, gallery, contacts and VueQue™) running

concurrently but independently on the dual displays – e.g., reading e-mail on

one screen and opening a text message on the other; checking Facebook®

via the browser on one screen while looking through a photo gallery on the

other; or even searching the Web on one screen and checking email on the

other.

• Optimized Mode with both displays supporting a single, optimized app

with complementary functionality and enhanced usability – e.g., composing

e-mail on one screen with a touchscreen keyboard on the other; watching

a YouTube™ video on one display while browsing and queuing additional

YouTube videos on the other (with a preloaded Kyocera app called

VueQue™); or viewing gallery images on one display while browsing image

thumbnails on the other.

• Tablet Mode with one application spread across both displays for a full 4.7-

inch viewing area. Tablet Mode is ideal for viewing maps, videos, websites,

detailed documents, and long lists on-the-go.

“Sprint is proud to boast the most powerful Android portfolio available today and

Echo adds to that legacy with industry-leading technology that will change the

way our customers use smartphones,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. “Today’s busy

schedules often demand that we do at least two things at once. Kyocera Echo is the

first device that allows us to do a different task on each of two screens while also

providing a tablet-like, larger screen experience that easily fits in a pocket when

closed.”

Kyocera Echo will be available this spring for $199.99 with a new two-year service

agreement or eligible upgrade and after a $100 mail-in rebate in all Sprint retail

channels, including the Web (www.sprint.com) and Telesales (1-800-Sprint1). Pricing

excludes surcharges and taxes.

“For years Kyocera has provided handsets to Sprint’s Prepaid Group and MVNOs,

as well as to Sprint under the Sanyo brand,” said Eiichi Toriyama, president of

Kyocera Communications Inc. “We value greatly our relationship with Sprint and

we are thrilled that they have chosen Echo as the standout product with which to

reintroduce its customers to the Kyocera brand. With Kyocera Echo, we are proud

to give Sprint an iconic, industry-changing device that delivers an entirely new

experience for smartphone users.”

Kyocera Echo also includes customized apps optimized for the dual-screen Optimized

Mode experience including VueQue™, which lets users watch a YouTube video on

one display while browsing, queuing and buffering additional YouTube videos on

the other display. Additional applications optimized for the dual-screen experience

include:

• Messaging and e-mail: Users can turn the device horizontally and use the

top display to view the e-mail/message application while using the lower

display as a full-sized virtual keyboard.

• Browser: Takes the browser experience of a standard 3.5-inch smartphone

and enhances it, allowing users to view two websites simultaneously.

Gallery: Users can scroll through thumbnail images on one screen while

viewing an enlarged image on the other.

Contacts/phone: Users can view more of the phone’s contact directory or

an expanded virtual dial pad.

Beyond the dual touchscreen innovation, Kyocera Echo operates on the Android 2.2

system and has access to more than 100,000 apps in Android Market™ – everything

from Facebook to Angry Birds. Additional key features include:

• Sprint’s nationwide 3G network and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)*

• Wi-Fi hotspot capability, which supports wireless connections for up to five

devices

• 5-megapixel camera with flash, autofocus and digital zoom

• 720p HD camcorder to quickly capture those on-the-go memorable moments

• Corporate (Exchange ActiveSync®) and personal (POP & IMAP) e-mail, IM

(Google Talk™), text messaging

• Media player with a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack

• Stereo Bluetooth® 2.1 (+ EDR)

• Full HTML Web browser with Google Search™

• 1GHz Snapdragon processor (QSD 8650 Android)

• 1 gigabyte (GB) of onboard memory and an 8GB microSD™ card for the

external memory card slot supporting cards up to 32GB

• Voice and text prompts in both English and Spanish

Kyocera Echo comes packaged with a spare battery (1370 mAh) and a low-profile

charging cradle. Along with charging the spare battery independently of the phone,

the charging cradle also can tether the spare to Kyocera Echo as an external power

supply.

Additional Google™ features include Google Maps™, Google Talk™, Gmail™,

synchronization with Google Calendar™, and access to Google Goggles™ to search

with pictures instead of words. With Sprint, Kyocera Echo users have access to Sprint

Zone™, providing one-stop wireless account access, phone tips, news, a list of top

apps plus TeleNav GPS Navigator, Sprint TV and Movies® and more.

A Software Development Kit (SDK) and developer guide for Kyocera Echo will be

available before the launch on the Sprint Application Developer Program (ADP)

website at http://developer.sprint.com/android. The developer guide will provide

details on developing for a dual-screen handset and Android 2.2 device. It also will

provide information on how to take advantage of Kyocera Echo’s unique hardware

and software capabilities on the Sprint Network. The Sprint ADP has been providing

tools for third-party developers since Sprint first launched the Wireless Web on its

phones in 2001.

Some competitors may offer lower prices, but Sprint customers get more with

unlimited data while on the Sprint Network with their monthly plan. Sprint offers real

simplicity, value and savings vs. competitors, making it easy for customers to get

the most out of their phones without using a calculator to tally up costs or worrying

about how much data they’ve used.

Kyocera Echo requires activation on one of Sprint’s Everything Data plans plus

required $10 Premium Data add-on charge for smartphones. Sprint’s Everything

Data plan with Any Mobile, AnytimeSM includes unlimited Web, texting and calling to

and from any mobile in America while on the Sprint network, starting at just $69.99

per month plus required $10 Premium Data add-on charge – a savings of $39.99

per month vs. Verizon’s comparable plan with unlimited talk, text and Web, and

$35 per month vs. AT&T’s comparable plan with unlimited talk, text and just 2GB of

data (excluding Verizon’s Southern California plan; pricing excludes surcharges and

taxes.)

Sprint Everything Data plans qualify for automatic enrollment in the Sprint PremierSM

loyalty program1. Existing Sprint customers can switch to an Everything Data plan

without extending their service agreement. New lines of service require a two-year

service agreement.

An optional charge of just $29.99 per month turns on Kyocera Echo’s mobile hotspot

feature, connecting up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, gaming devices

and digital cameras, at 3G speeds anywhere on the Sprint 3G network (pricing

excludes surcharges and taxes).

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications

services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government

users. Sprint Nextel served more than 48.8 million customers at the end of the

third quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and

deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a

national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services,

leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents

Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk

capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6

in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the

highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at

www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

About Kyocera Communications Inc.

Kyocera Communications Inc. (KCI) is the headquarters for Kyocera- and Sanyo-

branded wireless products and accessories in the Americas. The company’s devices

are driving the convergence of telecommunications, broadband and multimedia. KCI

was formed in April 2009 through the combination of Kyocera Wireless Corp. and

Kyocera Sanyo Telecommunications Inc., two wholly owned subsidiaries of Kyocera

International Inc. The former was created when Kyocera purchased QUALCOMM

Incorporated’s consumer wireless phone business in 2000, while the latter was

formed when Kyocera purchased the wireless phone business of Sanyo Electric

Co., Ltd. in 2008. Based in San Diego, KCI leverages Japan’s history of creating

advanced consumer technologies around humanism and respect for the environment

and blending them with a Western entrepreneurialism and style, resulting in a

unique design language and a natural, user-friendly interface. For more information,

please visit http://www.kyocera-wireless.com or follow the company on Facebook at

www.facebook.com/kyoceramobilephones.

Kyocera Corporation (NYSE:KYO) (TOKYO:6971) (http://global.kyocera.com/),

the parent and global headquarters of the Kyocera Group, was founded in 1959 as

a producer of fine ceramics (also known as “advanced ceramics”). By combining

these engineered materials with metals and plastics, and integrating them with

other technologies, Kyocera has become a leading supplier of telecommunications

equipment, office-document imaging equipment, solar power generating systems,

semiconductor packages, electronic components, cutting tools and industrial

ceramics. During the year ended March 31, 2010, the company’s net sales totaled

1.07 trillion yen (approximately US $11.5 billion). Kyocera marked its 50th

anniversary in 2009, and the 40th anniversary of its U.S. operations. It is ranked

#554 on Forbes magazine’s 2010 “Global 2000″ listing of the world’s largest publicly

traded companies.