Dual-screeen Kyocera Echo phone set for April 17

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Kyocera and Sprint have confirmed launch details for the unique 'Echo' smartphone, a dual-screen device that acts like a mini tablet in addition to a phone.

It will be available April 17 for $200.

The price is valid for customers who sign a new two-year contract with Sprint, the exclusive carrier of the Kyocera Echo.

The Echo was designed specifically so that when you pull out the phone to reveal the second screen, it latches together and creates a sort of mini iPad.

When put together, the display is about five inches diagonally, which makes it smaller than the iPad or Galaxy Tab, but bigger than most smartphones on the market. But because it folds down to a standard-sized phone, it is easily able to fit inside your pocket.

So, what can you do with these two screens? Well, there's two options:

- Run each screen independently

Watch a Youtube video on one screen while browsing your e-mail on the other. Check Facebook on one screen and text someone on the other screen. It's all seamless as both screens are completely independent of one another in this mode.

- Use specially programmed dual-screen apps

Sprint has worked with Google and other app developers to make special apps to take advantage of the dual screens. So, when you have both screens latched together, you can run Google Maps and see an expanded view of the map as compared to what you'd see on a Droid or Evo 4G.

Or, check your e-mail and read a conversation while your entire e-mail list remains on the other screen (kind of like Outlook with its different panes). Look at a photo while scrolling through your entire photo gallery. Of course, these apps need to be specially programmed for the Echo, but there seems to be a lot of these apps already created.

Despite all the unique features of the Echo, it isn't the most up-to-date phone, as it comes with Android 2.2, not Android 2.3, and is not equipped to run on Sprint's 4G network.