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Cellphones Displays Handhelds

Yota Phone Launches With Secondary E-Ink Display 72

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the waiting-for-pixel-qi dept.
OldJuke writes "Called the YotaPhone, the device pairs a traditional LCD color touch-screen on one side with a black-and-white, electronic-paper display on the other, allowing users to continuously view data in real time without having to constantly wake up their phones and drain their batteries. General interaction will be done through the LCD screen, but the e-paper display allows an image to be displayed at all times — from maps, airline boarding passes and family photos to Twitter messages and emails — but only uses power when the picture changes. BBC News interviewed the company's leader, Vlad Martynov, for a hands-on demonstration."
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Yota Phone Launches With Secondary E-Ink Display

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  • Finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grantbridge (1377621) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:10AM (#45595089)
    I've been asking for one of these for years. Battery drain on a LCD screen is too high for a phone, eink makes a much better screen.
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by locopuyo (1433631) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:16AM (#45595165) Homepage
      Same, but I want one where the main screen is color e-ink. Mirasol color e-ink displays have been in Korea and China for years now on tablets. What is taking so long?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I want both the things you ask for and:

        Touch screen also needs to be on the eInk side too. As it currently is, you do swipe gestures below the screen to operate it, which makes it not good for lots of things.

        (Also nice to have, ditch the Google part of Android and gives us a clean Android install. My wife just flipped when I told her what she'd been watching on Youtube on her Android tablet. She never realized it records everything you do and associates it with the Google account).

        • Re:Plus touch (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:03PM (#45595799)

          "Also nice to have, ditch the Google part of Android and gives us a clean Android install."

          I'm not even going to comment on how dumb this is, I think it speaks for itself. Want to ditch the Microsoft part of Windows while you're at it?

          • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @12:27PM (#45596177)

            "Also nice to have, ditch the Google part of Android and gives us a clean Android install."

            I'm not even going to comment on how dumb this is, I think it speaks for itself. Want to ditch the Microsoft part of Windows while you're at it?

            There's a quick and easy command to do that: mkfs /dev/sda1

            • There's a quick and easy command to do that: mkfs /dev/sda1

              Well, except that with the (censored) way they ship phones, you'd need to root it first.

              Say what you will about WIndows; at least there you have an option to remove the bloatware. On Android you're stuck with it for life.

      • Consumer demand.

        At the saving of battery life and natural non back-lighting you loose refresh speed, and brightness of the device, and the ability to use it in the dark without some external light shining on it.

        We have the Kindle and the Kindle Fire. One with ePaper and one with an LCD display. The Kindle is only for reading, the Kindle Fire is for much more.
        When given an option people usually choose more.

        In countries such as Korea and China, battery life may be more necessity over more features.

        Also compan

        • by DriveDog (822962)
          Actually, it's what marketing types THINK would be consumer demand, since they haven't actually tried it in the US. I think we all know how reliable that is.
        • by locopuyo (1433631)
          Actually the Mirasol displays I'm referring to have even faster refresh rates than LCDs and can play videos just fine. The backlighting can be solved just like the backlit eink Nook and Kindles.
          After doing some googling it looks like they stopped production and development last year because they were too expensive. :(
          • The backlighting can be solved just like the backlit eink Nook and Kindles.

            Kindles are front lit, aren't they?

    • Similar idea to the Entourage eDGe. I thought these had fallen by the wayside (about two weeks after I bought one, incidentally) but at least the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] doesn't mention that they've gone out of business.

    • Smart Watches are meant to fill the same function, and some (like the Pebble) use e-Ink.

      Myself, I don't find the battery drain for turning on the screen a moment significant enough to matter.

      • by jfengel (409917)

        There are applications where you'll want to view the same image for a long time, like a map or a book. Both uses stand out in my mind because I just did a lot of traveling, where I couldn't be certain of when I'd next get a chance to plug in my phone. I'd have to flash it on to glance at a map, then shut it off and walk some more.

        (Not to mention that I'd have to unlock it each time, a slightly cumbersome procedure while walking, though that seems a problem that could be solved with suitable programming.)

    • by Minwee (522556)

      I've been asking for one of these for years.

      So why didn't you just buy one years ago [wikipedia.org]?

      You could have had not only an e-ink display, but a battery life of over a week, and you could not only drop it on the ground but run over it a few times with a pickup truck without damaging it. All for under $50 in the USA, and that's only because it was marked up as an import.

      The only down side is that you would have an actual phone used for talking to other people with phones, rather than disgruntled avian simulator. Some folks consider that to be a problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mr. Slippery (47854)

        The only down side is that you would have an actual phone used for talking to other people with phones, rather than disgruntled avian simulator. Some folks consider that to be a problem.

        The Yota will let you display a map, a book, or other useful stuff on its e-ink display.

        The Fone apparently couldn't even display SMS messages properly.

        Sorry if I missed a joke, but if you're serious, there's no comparison.

        If someone made a phone like the Yota in a slider format (or some other way to get a keyboard in

        • by Minwee (522556)

          You complained about battery life, said that the e-ink display was a better option, and implied that you had been waiting years for a device which could provide both.

          If your other requirements were just viewing maps or reading books then you didn't need to wait so many years, as you could have fulfilled those needs with an Android powered ereader like the Sony PRS-T1 back in 2011.

          If, on the other hand, you have been waiting years for a smartphone with two 4.3" displays, a 1.7 GHz Krait CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32

    • Motorola had made one - and it was dirt cheap - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_Fone [wikipedia.org]

      It was around 30$ without a contract if I remember correctly.

  • Durability? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:15AM (#45595155)
    I like having a working phone after the inevitable drop, which means putting it in a case. This phone looks cool, but unless it's built to be durable without an additional case, or they have a custom case to make both screens usable, I'm no interested.
    • Re:Durability? (Score:4, Informative)

      by X0563511 (793323) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:47AM (#45595551) Homepage Journal

      When was the last time you found a cellphone case that wasn't custom shaped for the phone? It's not like they have uniform physical characteristics.

      • by oodaloop (1229816)
        How many of them are clear on the back? Normal style cases wouldn't do the trick for this phone.
        • by gl4ss (559668)

          How many of them are clear on the back? Normal style cases wouldn't do the trick for this phone.

          ...huh? the point was that NO PHONE takes any cover made for any other phone*. so of course the covers would be made for it. there is no universal cases that fit nowadays.

          furthermore, most android phones from random manufactures go without their cases and last just fine, it's pretty much only apple who designs their phones so that they look pretty in pictures but need a plastic cover when in use. from the pictures this doesn't look like a phone you'd want to stick in a cover anyhow.

          *iphone4s being an except

        • by hawguy (1600213)

          How many of them are clear on the back? Normal style cases wouldn't do the trick for this phone.

          There are a number of Nexus 5 cases that are clear on the back, and it doesn't even have a rear display: http://amzn.to/1cZ1rYN [amzn.to]

    • by Cally (10873)
      I've slung my Blackberry Z10 around a hell of a lot, including hammering it, hard, on a wooden desk and hurling it against my study wall hard enough to pop the back off, battery out etc -- about the only good thing I can say about it is that it's built like a brick shithouse. It's been accidentally dropped onto floors and ground of various hardnesses many times, too. Not a mark on it.
    • Cases are for iPhones and similarly fragile design statements - a phone should not need one. This does put some constraints on the freedom the designers have - no glass to the edge, a buffer zone between fragile materials and the casing (which should not be made of a fragile material), etc. As the phone is first and foremost a tool this is not an unreasonable restriction.

      We use Motorola Defy [wikipedia.org] phones here on the farm. They seem to survive just fine without needing a case. They look rather similar to most touc

      • by oodaloop (1229816)
        Yeah, and everyone uses their phones in the same environment with the same stress. Thanks for your input, but I need a case.
        • by puto (533470)
          The Motoroal Defy is a military spec waterproof, shockproof, and heatproof phone. It is built so you do not need a case, his point was that if you are an environment that warrants a tough phone they are available. Samsung also makes one called the Rugby.
      • by puto (533470)
        Highly underrated phone even at 3 years old. I have six sister in laws in Colombia, and since I work for a telco I tend to give them phones every xmas, and six months later most are broken(I am looking at you iphones) and so I bought six Defys on ebay, put ICS on them, and I have heard nary a peep from them, the girls love them and they have been dropped in rivers, streets, babies have thrown them against the wall, and they keep on trucking.
        • by sconeu (64226)

          I used a G'Zone for years (mil-spec flip phone). Bought it specifically because I know I drop my phones a lot. not very feature-ful (but it was 6 years ago), but it took a licking and kept on ticking.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I've dropped my Kyocera more than once and it's never broken. A case? If it was in a protective case it wouldn't fit in my pocket. As it only cost a hundred bucks with no subsidy, if it does break I'll just buy a new one.

      What kind of cheap but expensive phone do you have that is so delicate?

  • Yota phone? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:17AM (#45595181)

    Shouldn't the headline read: "With Secondary E-Ink Display YOTA Phone Launches"

    "Smart phone wars begun they have."

  • by advid.net (595837) <slashdot@adv i d . net> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:29AM (#45595319) Journal
    e-ink display lasts even not powered, so one day you may have something personal/compromising/secret displayed there and if a bug freeze the phone you won't be able to erase that quickly by shutting it off, as one can do with LCD or OLED display.
    • I've had LCD displays crash "on" on my Android and the only way to turn it off was to remove the battery physically. Some phones have non-removable batteries making this an existing problem.
    • Given the average update frequency and lack of greyscaling, I don't think anyone's going to be watching pr0n on these.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @11:34AM (#45595375)
    An app that displays the cover of the book you're reading on the LCD side.

    It kills the battery but oh! the conversations you'll strike up on the subway!

    .
  • Most scanners at airports and movie theatres I've gone to are all geared to read paper tickets, and require all sorts of intervention when you try to use the airline's app to display your e-boarding pass. e-paper would be a lot easier to read than LCD.
    • Really? I've only ever tried this once, at Bristol international airport, but the scanner read off my LCD screen just fine.

    • by Teun (17872)
      I've never had a problem checking in with first my N900 and now the Nexus4.

      Except in Aberdeen, Scotland, it works but they insist on a printed copy...

      • I've never had a problem checking in with first my N900 and now the Nexus4.

        Except in Aberdeen, Scotland, it works but they insist on a printed copy...

        Of course - a TRUE Scotsman would demand the paper ticket, because that paper can be used for notes, or toilet paper, or starting a fire later on. Why turn down that free piece of paper? You paid for it after all!

    • I fly several times a month, and have never had a problem using the eticket feature on my smartphone (Galaxy Note 2). American, Delta, Alaska Air - works like a charm at SBA, LAX, SEA, SFO, JFK, MSP...
  • It's not e-ink, but Nokia also solves this problem to some degree by switching the screen into a low power state, turning off a lot of the pixels and reducing the available colours. This allows you to have a clock, notifications and even a background image visible all the time when the screen is 'off' without draining much battery power.
  • Great! Now everyone on the bus will see on the e-ink display what I am doing on the LCD. All the private messages, photos, etc.
  • I have absolutely eaten 50% of my battery in a two hour long meeting because I was constantly paging through documents of notes during the discussion. Most of it is spent with the document just sitting on the display for reference / discussion. I leave the LCD on because I have to keep unlocking the phone with my pin every time someone asks something like "what was that number from March?" This would also make reading more practical, as I often do not do any e-reading during the day because I am worried
  • Pixel Qi? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CityZen (464761) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @03:44PM (#45599179) Homepage

    Yes, why don't many more devices use the Pixel Qi display? You know, the one that's a normal color LCD when backlit, or a monochrome very-low-power LCD when front-lit (ie, by ambient lighting). Seems like it would be ideal for phones and smart watches.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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