NEW YORK -- Sprint and Kyocera kicked off their joint introduction of the Kyocera Echo, the first dual-screen Android smartphone, with a performance by the illusionist David Blaine at an event off Times Square on Feb. 7. Wearing a three-piece suit and sitting casually at a table, Blaine smoked a cigar and sipped a glass of wine, among other relaxed gestures -- while submerged in tank of water for a mind-boggling amount of time. Ten minutes? Fifteen?
"I think we all wish we could have some of David's magic in our lives," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said, taking the stage afterward with Kyocera Senior Executive Officer Junzo Katsuki and working to somehow tie the intro of the Echo to what the audience, a little more perplexed than enthusiastic, had just witnessed.
If not exactly magic, what the pair introduced might at least pleasantly surprise: a smartphone with two touch-screens that can run two applications "simultaneously and independently," said Hesse. Users can, for example, watch a video on one screen and browse the Web on the other. Or they can perform complementary tasks such as watching a YouTube video on the top screen while queuing up clips on the bottom screen. They also work to a complementary effect in e-mail, which shows the inbox on one side and an open e-mail in the other. (In landscape or portrait modes, ta da!)
The 3.5-inch LCD WVGA touch-screens can also work together -- in "tablet mode" -- as a single 4.7-inch (on the diagonal) screen for watching a movie or reading. Or, for a bit of old-fashioned fun, one can slide one screen behind the other and look at one thing at a time.
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