Yesterday we were introduced to the YotaPhone, a new dual-screen handset that has both an HD LCD display on the front and an e-ink display on the back. It’s an intriguing phone that hails from Russia, and today we’re getting our first look at the phone’s big talking points in a new demo video from Mobile-Review. Anton Tarasenko, who serves as the head of product management and planning at Yota, takes us through the YotaPhone’s notable features, including gesture controls.

Despite the fact that YotaPhone is running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, there aren’t any of the typical Android navigation buttons we’re used to. Instead, Yota has implemented gesture controls, which require you to swipe across the bezel to navigate. Watching Anton do it, it seems pretty easy, but we imagine that more a few Android users are going to need to take some time getting used to the gesture controls.

There’s a particularly awesome perk to having a second e-ink screen on the back of the device, as the folks at Yota have made it so you can transfer what’s on the LCD screen over to the e-ink display. For instance, Anton brings up Google Maps on the LCD screen, centers the map, and then transfers it around back to the e-ink display. Since it doesn’t take any battery power to continually display things in e-ink, he can now have the map constantly showing on the display without draining the battery.

He also brought his Twitter feed up on the e-ink display, which updates instantly (provided the phone is connected to the Internet). Of course, you can also do other things on the e-ink display, such as read a book or check your email. All in all, the YotaPhone sounds like a pretty nifty device, and we’re hoping to hear more about it soon.


  1. Nice concept, but the swiping instead of buttons will kill it. Swiping for a single action takes far more effort than pressing a button. It requires you to remember the gesture, as well as doing it precisely. It significantly increases the chances of frustration for the users when the swipe does not respond correctly. During this video, several swipes this guy did were ignored. Even worse, how are you supposed to do a swipe while using the phone with one hand? Home is a swipe from the right edge to the left edge, that is quite a distance. For this ‘feature’ alone, I would not use this phone even if it was given to me for free.

    Other than that, the e-ink screen raises some possibilities.

    • It’s a prototype; I have seen market models from established international brand names like Samsung which have less sensitive and accurate touchscreens than the swiping surface on this thing. Besides, swiping is actually pretty decent. It may not beat the speed of tapping an Android 4 softkey, but it’s easier than pressing a hardware home button key, and the distance is fairly manageable for a phone that is not the Note.


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