Echo dual-screen smartphone coming April 17 from Sprint

Buyers may reserve phones starting March 26

The dual-screen Kyocera Echo, an Android smartphone, will sell for $199.99 with a two-year agreement starting April 17 exclusively from Sprint, the carrier announced Monday.

The Kyocera Echo smartphone has two touchscreens to appeal to devoted multitaskers.

Buyers will be able to reserve an Echo beginning March 26, and can pick it up April 17, Sprint said.

The device, with two 3.5-in. touchscreens connected with a durable copper alloy "pivot hinge" was pitched as a true multitasking device by Sprint at its unveiling Feb. 7 in New York.

The displays can operate independently, side-by-side or combined which forms a 4.7-in. diagonal integrated display. A video demo of its permutations is shown on the Kyocera Web site.

The dual screen is the first of its kind in the U.S, but potential customers have been concerned that the Echo only works on Android 2.2 and Sprint's 3G CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A network, not the faster WiMax network. Still, EV-DO Rev. A offers average downloads speeds between 600 Kbit/sec. and 1.4 Mbit/sec. A Wi-Fi hotspot capability supports up to five devices. It also has a 5-megapixel camera and 720p HD camcorder. With a heavy emphasis on video, Echo has 1 GB of onboard storage and an 8GB microSD card for its external storage card slot that can be upgraded to 32GB.

The phone has a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, which less than a year ago was considered a "super smartphone" processor, although other manufacturers in January began showing dual-core processors, with each core running at 1 GHz for a total of 2GHz of power.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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