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Mar 15 2011   10:48AM GMT

Dual-Screen Kyocera Echo Is Welcome Innovation

Ed Hardy Ed Hardy Profile: Ed Hardy

Sprint announced yesterday that it is going to release the Kyocera Echo in mid-April. I’m one of the people who is eager to try out this smartphone, as it is going to have an innovative design featuring not one, but two large touchscreens.

Kyocera Echo from SprintI really like the idea of two screens, as I’ve wanted a device that replaces the keyboard with a second display for a long time.  Dedicating a big chunk of a relatively small device to a single task — text input — makes little sense to me. A second touchscreen can function as a keyboard, plus it can do so much more.

My desktop has gotten me accustomed to running multiple apps simultaneously, so I like the idea of running two apps at once on the Echo’s separate 3.7-inch, WVGA screens. I want to be able to read a new email without interrupting the movie I’m watching, for example.

Some Drawbacks
I’ll confess, though, I’m a bit nervous about the exact design of the Echo, as it will have an unusual shape that will let it be used in a variety of configurations. The sliding hinge arrangement that makes this possible could be a source of problems — I wish Kyocera had gone with a simpler clamshell design with a twist-and-flip display, like the classic Sony PEG-UX50.

And there’s near universal concern about the Echo’s battery life, as its two displays are going to require an unusual amount of power. I’m not sure including a second battery with this device is going to be enough.

But we’ll know next month, as Sprint is going to launch the Kyocera Echo on April 17.

Here’s hoping that this model does well enough that other smartphone makers take up the dual-screen smartphone concept.

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