Feb 07 AT 7:27 PM Taylor Wimberly 44 Comments

Kyocera Echo big on combined display size, slow in graphics performance

As expected, Sprint and Kyocera just officially announced the Echo, the world’s first dual-touchscreen smartphone. The device’s most notable feature is its dual 3.5 inch touchscreen displays, which are connected with a patent-pending “pivot hinge” to produce a 4.7 inch screen (800 x 960 resolution when opened).

Sprint will begin selling the phone this spring for $199 with a 2-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. Customers can begin pre-registration today at www.sprint.com/echo.

When the Echo is closed, it can be used like a normal touchscreen phone. The real power comes when the two screens are combined. When opened, users can choose from three display modes – (1) a Simul-task mode with two apps running concurrently, (2) an optimized mode with both displays supporting an optimized app and enhanced usability (2) or a tablet mode where one app is stretched across both screens.

Android developers will be able to take advantage of the dual screens with a special SDK provided on Sprint’s application developer program.

“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-3 Kyocera Echo kyocera-echo-2 kyocera-echo-4 kyocera-echo-6 kyocera-echo-5

Powering the phone is Qualcomm’s first generation 1 GHz Snapdragon processor (QSD8650). This is the same CPU that debuted in HTC’s Nexus One and was featured in the Sprint EVO 4G. It performed great a year ago, but it is really starting to show its age with the slower Adreno 200 GPU that can hardly play the new 3D games.

Couldn’t Kyocera spring the extra $4 and upgrade to the second-generation 1 GHz Snapragon and Adreno 205 being used by HTC (myTouch 4G, Thunderbolt, Inspire), Sony Ericsson, and other handset makers? I have to wonder why they would pair one of the largest combined display sizes with one of the slowest GPUs.

Priced at $199, the Echo will be competing with other high-end Sprint phones that can easily outperform it and boast more features like 4G speeds, a front-facing camera, and HDMI video output. With its aging processor, I don’t think the high-end customers will buy it, but maybe Sprint can move some units based solely on the device’s unique dual-display concept.

It’s not the 3D phone we had been hoping for, but the Echo definitely brings an interesting design to the table. I think it would be really cool to have one application running on the bottom half of the screen while playing a game on the other. The idea of dual touchscreens for multitasking sounds like it has potential, so hopefully this design sticks around and someone will pair it with a faster multi-core processor.

If you are on Sprint, what do you think of the Echo? Do you welcome the innovative design or wish Sprint had announced a more high-end device with a multi-core processor and 4G support? What type of customer do you think this will appeal to?

Highlights of the Echo include:

  • Android 2.2
  • 1 GHz first-generation Snapdragon processor (QSD8650)
  • Dual 3.5 inch LCD WVGA (800 x 540) capacitive touchscreens, 4.7 inch diagonally when open (800 x 860)
  • 5 megapixel camera with flash, autofocus, 2x digital zoom, and 720p video record
  • Memory: 1 GB ROM / 512 MB RAM; 8GB microSD included
  • 3G data speeds (EVDO Rev A) — peak download speeds of 3.1 Mbps; peak upload speeds of 1.8 Mbps; average download speeds 600 kbps – 1.4 Mbps
  • Removable 1370mAh battery; includes spare battery (1370 mAh) with portable charger that can also tether to the phone as an external power supply
  • Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g,

From Sprint: 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 Facebookvia 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.

Source: Sprint

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Chris


    • http://Website watbetch

      It doesn’t have 4G just in time for the 3G “Premium Data” fee. So not only do you have to deal with slow 3G, you get to pay the same price as other phones with WiMAX (if you’re within the coverage area)… it’s obvious that they didn’t have the space for a WiMAX modem but that shouldn’t even have been a problem.. because they should have NEVER released this phone.

      I am seriously disappoint with Sprint. I’m not even a Sprint customer and I’m upset.

      • http://www.brainhandles.com Greg Bulmash

        I *am* a Sprint customer and I’m upset. Seriously, their last two phones are this and the HTC Shift, which is just a warmed over G2.

        Is Sprint’s new motto “yesterday’s processors at today’s prices”???

        Maybe I’ll just bite the ETF bullet and move to Verizon. Sprint’s just stinking up the place with its new phones.

  • http://Website VERIZON WIRELESS


  • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

    This thing failboats all over the place.

  • http://Website Richard

    I openly applaud sprint and the thought not a bad concept just like the Atrix this is a concept… Being a Sprint customer i will remain with my htc evo 4g until the announced new htc evo 2 4g makes it’s paces at ctia in March 2011. All current evo owners are waiting patiently meanwhile I applaud this maybe some current customers with lower level devices will upgrade or maybe new customers may find desire in this smartphone. Sprint is the best in my world

    • http://Website thaghost

      are you serious?

    • http://Website Hans

      That’s like applauding AT&T for releasing the Moto Backflip.

  • http://Website Austin

    No 4g…no rear camera…no dual core…no 3d….sprint seems to be going backwards even though it’s an industry first!

    • Galen20K

      you are so right!

  • http://Website DroidCLH

    this will be such a failure

  • http://www.bewareofraj.com Raj

    This is going to fail amongst hardcore android users and possible regular android users, here’s why:

    If I’m not mistaken, that’s the same snapdragon in the original Nexus One. As a heavy N1 user myself, I can tell you 1340mAh is a pathetic battery capacity and this phone won’t last a day of heavy use without a charge.

    They attempted to address this problem by including a second battery. What I don’t understand is why phones, especially android and other phones don’t come with at least 1500mAh batteries. That’s more than enough for a casual user and enough for a heavy user like myself, without having to charge. A second battery might be a burden for some users. I hate having a charger myself.

    I think the two screens could work, if one screen was used for input and the other (the top one) for output. For example, the bottom screen could be a keyboard with/without trackball/trackpad, or maybe another time of input, say a controller for a game. Or maybe movie controls.

    Finally, the specs are pretty crap, though the casual user won’t care. The snapdragon is pretty snappy, at least on a single screen.

    • http://www.bewareofraj.com Raj

      I’d also like to add, if they can avoid marketing it badly and making it seem like a gimmick, then it might work out for casual users.

  • Jaymoon

    Wow this is bad. I love my Evo and Spint’s network… but seriously?

    I think the Kin has new competition for worst phone ever.

  • http://Website Mark

    LOL. Wake me up…I’m dreaming. haha! Must be a dream.

  • http://Website Kid Twist

    Why did they stop at just two screens? Wouldn’t THREE have been EVEN BETTER?

  • Dave K

    “It’s not the 3D phone we had been hoping for”

    Sorry Taylor, I don’t think anyone but you is hoping for a 3D phone. No one really cares about 3D.

    What everyone on Sprint is hoping for is a dual-core 4G phone. This ugly piece of mediocre junk doesn’t cut it.

  • http://Website Raptor

    With salary 2M per year Hessy could do much better job. I would never pass that crap. Can anyone imagine Steve Jobs allowed this kind of dumbphones for 2011 to be even close to California?

  • http://Website Nate

    the battery life on this thing is gonna be so bad. My nexus one with a 1400 Mah battery sometimes struggles to make it through a day. This phone has essentially twice the screen size and the same processor. Good Luck.

  • http://Website chris





  • http://Website Paul Atreides

    March can’t get here soon enough! Nice concept just not what I’m looking for…

    • Dave K

      My HTC Hero is so damned old now, the only reason I still have it is so I could get a dual-core 4G phone. I was hoping they’d announce something big at CES, then today, now we have to wait for March. Plus it’ll be another month after the announcement before whatever they announce becomes available.

      • http://Website ChrisAre

        I’m in the exact same boat, Dave. I’ve been wanting to upgrade for a while, but don’t want to pay release price for a 7 month-old phone. My contract ends in August, and I’m seriously considering just waiting and switching carriers to someone who has a decent lineup.

        The worst part has been the hype. They make a HUGE deal about the Evo lite, and made an even bigger deal for a phone NO ONE WANTED! I’m so underwhelmed I want to punch something.

        • http://Website Paul Atreides

          LOL don’t go all Mike Tyson on the nearest person/animal or David Blaine just yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sprint gets the EVO 2 and a Galaxy S2 device before your contract ends. At this point it’s nothing that I would want to switch carriers for anyway so I could hold on to my EVO until the summer if need be.

  • http://Website george

    THIS is what Sprint had up its sleeve????????

    Thank God that it wasn’t up it’s (you know where) cause that’s exactly what I think of this phone.

    One great (dual) pile of crap!!!!

  • http://Website A7xcky

    An industry first..n probably the last. The idea isnt bad but without a serious up to date processor it is destined to suck. If u ask me sprint is falling behind verizon n possibly at&t so far this year. N raising their prices isn’t gonna help either

  • http://www.3for.tv Greg

    As I stated before:

    1ghz processor? — 1st quarter 2010

    Ugly housing? — 2nd quarter 1997

    Dual screen? — 2nd quarter 2006 (nintendo ds)

    This is old tech, sloppily pasted together. It was an interesting attempt, at best. Android devs are already sick of all the fragmentation. Now they have to optimize for TWO screens?

    At worst, it’s a crappy phone that will have a horrendous battery life, shockingly low sales, and will be a financial failure for Sprint.

    • http://Website watbetch

      With the potentially poor retail response this thing may (will) have, devs won’t have to worry much about optimizing their apps for this thing.

      • http://www.3for.tv Greg

        True. True.

  • http://Website Andy

    I don’t care if Sprint releases a piece of shit phone, but it really pissed me off how Sprint tried to make it seem as if it’s a huge deal.

    Sprint didn’t need to have this big event just for this POS phone, they should of announced this phone at MWC instead.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Sprint just sent out a single invite with few details and a picture of David Blaine. It was all the blogs like us that hyped it up after Sprint’s weak showing at CES. We really did think they had “something up their sleeve” as they put it.

      • http://Website ChrisAre

        I disagree, Taylor. Maybe blogs over hyped it with 3D and such, but the Echo isn’t worth it’s own press conference, and it definitely isn’t worth a celebrity endorsement. They’re trying to sell this as way bigger than it is to make up for the fact that they haven’t released a quality phone in 7 months- poor attempt at competing with the iPhone, Thunderbolt and Atrix. MWC (or CES) would have been much more appropriate.

  • http://Website Greg

    This definitely sucks, but the idea doesn’t.

    If a company took everything good about this phone (it has two touch-screens) and fix all the bad stuff (everything else), then it could be cool.

    Imagine if the Atrix ALSO had a slide-out screen. That would be cool. especially with the 1 gig of RAM and the larger battery.

  • NitroExpressNY

    all that hype for a double shit screen

  • http://Website Steven

    It seems like something that could be useful for certain applications. It’d be great if someone released a Nintendo DS emulator to work on it, for example. And…well…that’s about it, lol. And also, I don’t see anyone sliding it out to use the second screen all that often just for everyday use.

    I’m sure that if it does sell well enough to make it worth the trouble, some talented devs will figure out some neat ways to take advantage of it. But with that relatively slow processor and the awful battery life that it will inevitably get, I don’t see any remotely informed consumers getting excited about it.

  • http://Website lockhart

    What a waste and disappointment I am highly embarrassed for this long await news. VZW get the iPhone and we get junk. I love my evo and still waiting on the next awesome phone and sad to say thuis is not it

  • http://Website Dre


  • http://Website Sivarter

    when did nintendo start making crappy phones? the G1 looks better then that thing

  • ranman

    Very, very disappointing Sprint.

  • http://Website Mark

    Ok, so constructively……

    The guy behind the Evo development was fired/left either shortly before or after its launch if I remember, right?

    Up until that point the phone selection was terrible and overpriced, since then it seems to have returned to mediocre phones sold at a high price.

    My question is: Is this a Sprint corporate policy problem?

    Do they just not understand what their customer base wants? Are they like GM was and only care about flooding the market with half baked phones?

    I am VERY disappointed with their development schedules. The came out with the Evo and it was ground breaking to say the least. Then, they follow it up with one disappointment after another. I see the Atrix and I’ve got to say it sounds like beast of a phone and I’d pay dearly to have it. It is mind boggling to hear of nothing “high end” from Sprint.

    Do we only get one “great” phone a year?

  • http://Website xodus1914

    I think you folks forget that that there are two audiences out there. We (geeks ) look at this phone as crap because of the specs. Sure, a 1 ghz snapdragon might not meet OUR requirements for a double screen phone, but the average consumer looks at the cool factor, coupled with Sprint’s network (Verizon) , customer service and cheaper price…They will say “sign me up”. Remember how crappy the first iphone was? or the G1? Nobody but us cares that there’s no 4G becasue the average user is going to be happy with a strong 3G connection, and 4G is not really built out for mos Americans outside of the big cities anyway.
    Regular consumers worry about recpetion, battery life and ease of use. There really isn’t a 4G phone out there that has escaped the battery drain issue so I applaud Kyocera for avoiding that trap….
    TO be honest, the only thing that will not make this phone competitive is the lack of teh forward camera.. That is definitely a regular consumer WOW element that teh Echo needed to compete.

  • http://sprint.com Mo

    I guess Sprint doesn’t do any sort of consumer testing on products. Sloppy presentation, sloppy product, sloppy game plan.

  • http://Website Doesntmatter

    Imagine using the bottom half as a controller while running a game instead of putting your hands in front of your game. Also being able to customize your controls, like how many buttons, how big and where. It’s the same idea as using the bottom screen as a keyboard and the top screen to view.

  • http://Website Poop

    Uninformed Person: Ooooh two screens! Looks neeto!

    Informed Person: Get this buttonless DS away from me.