Sprint delivered on its promise of an industry first smartphone by releasing an Android-based dual screen phone under the moniker Echo, just days after AT&T announced that the much-awaited Motorola Atrix will be available from March 6.
The dual-screen phone crafted by Kyocera Communications sports two 3.5-inch displays which can be used as separate screens or alongside each other or can be combined to offer an integrated screen. Once the screens are combined, it turns into a 4.7-inch display.
The phone uses a pivot-hinge which allows the dual-screen to be used in various formats. The point of differentiation offered by Sprint Echo in its dual-screen manifestation is only matched by Motorola's Atrix which differentiates itself by offering laptop dock and powerful specifications.
Kyocera Echo with its Snapdragon 1GHz is not dual-core like Atrix which has a powerful Tegra 2 dual-core chip capable of thumping 2 GHz in power. The fact that Echo has two displays would have required a powerful chip and this limitation will impact its battery life, a problem that Kyocera is addressing by offering a spare 1370mAh battery with a charging cradle. The cradle can also tether the spare battery to Echo as an external power supply. Atrix offers an excellent battery life of 9 hours.
Both the phones run on Android 2.2 or Froyo. Atrix offers a 4-inch display with a 960x540 resolution compared to Echo two-screens which can run different apps individually and a single app together. Thus, it offers both a 3.5-inch screen option and once combined a 4.7-inch screen option. The displays have a resolution of 800x480. However, Atrix laptop dock allows accesses to its content on an 11.6-inch screen laptop thus offering a different view compared to Sprint's Echo.
Sprint Echo offers only 1GB of internal memory compared to Atrix's 16GB. Also Atrix is capable of further supporting 48 GB memory while Sprint Echo comes with an 8GB microSD card and can support up to 32 GB.
The Sprint Echo comes with a single 5MP camera with 720p video capture ability which is also offered by Atrix. However, Atrix also has a front-facing VGA camera and after its launch, it will add 1080p video capture ability to the phone as well.
In spite of a dual-screen display, Echo is not a bulky one as it is .67 inches thick, as reported by Phandroid, while Atrix is only 0.43 inches thick.
Kyocera Echo offers dual-screen and Atrix offers multiple docking outlets for accessing the smartphone from different devices. However, Atrix with its laptop dock comes at $499 while the Echo in all its splendor comes at $199. It's a fight between two tantalizing points of disparity and ushers in a very competitive landscape into which Apple iPhone 5 will land possibly in June.
Here is a comparison between Kyocera Echo and Motorola Atrix:
Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz
Two 3.5-inch screens
5 MP rear-facing, VGA front