Yota unveiled the YotaPhone 2 at a London event in late 2014, after teasing a prototype way back in February the same year. The second-generation YotaPhone has the same party trick as the original — an AMOLED screen on the front, and an e-paper screen on the back.
Updated on 05-19-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in news that the YotaPhone 2 is coming to the U.S. via Indiegogo.
YotaPhone comes to America and other pricing
After much speculation and anticipation, Yota finally announced that it will bring the YotaPhone 2 to the U.S. through an Indiegogo campaign. The company’s $50,000 goal is intended for use in paying off certifications and regulatory fees in North America. Those who pre-order the YotaPhone 2 can get their hands on the dual-sided device for $500. As an added bonus, those early birds will get a three month subscription to BookMate and a Yota Bumper case. The Yota Wireless Power Bank for wireless charging will cost just $50, in honor of the Indiegogo campaign.
Yota’s managing director Matthew Kelly told Digital Trends that he’s very excited about the campaign, and that this one is personal. He actually approached Yota a few years back with the idea of bringing the YotaPhone 2 to the U.S. Since then, Kelly has been a man on a mission, working hard to raise awareness and get Yota on the table.
Kelly said that although “it’s not easy for a new OEM to bring actual innovation and disruptive technology to consumers,” especially in the U.S. where carriers limit which smartphones make it into their stores, the Indiegogo campaign will be an important testing ground for the company. Kelly told us that Yota is already in talks with carriers, and that he believes that if the Indiegogo campaign generates a lot of consumer interest, the tide may turn in Yota’s favor.
Crowd-funding campaign success could be key to carrier support
Kelly’s hints match up with his earlier statements on the subject. Months ago, Yota revealed that the YotaPhone 2, unlike its predecessor, will eventually be available through an American carrier. While Kelly didn’t say when, or which one, he did say it’s “one of the big four.”
Back then, Android Authority stated that sources familiar with the plans claim the YotaPhone 2 will reach T-Mobile. T-Mobile seems a likely choice for Yota, especially since the Uncarrier is known to support unorthodox phones on its network. Yota also revealed the unique handset will make its way to a Canadian carrier, but, again, no specific information was given.
The YotaPhone 2 is already on sale in the UK for £555 through its own website, where it’ll be available in limited numbers. Alternatively, the phone can be purchased through online retailer Clove Technology for £550.
However, if the YotaPhone 2 felt too rich for your wallet, you’re in luck. Yota announced a £115 price cut for the dual-screened smartphone in the UK, effectively bringing the price down to £440. Other parts of Europe receive a €100 price cut, bringing the price down to €600.
An AMOLED touchscreen, and an e-paper touchscreen
Yota teased the YotaPhone 2 on its official Twitter account in November, so the design and the specifications are familiar. On the front of the YotaPhone 2 is a 5-inch, 1080p AMOLED touchscreen, and on the rear is a monochrome 4.7-inch, e-paper display with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution. While a dual-screened phone sounds like a real battery hog, the combination of the two actually helps preserve battery life, due to the e-paper display only drawing power when it refreshes.
— YotaPhone (@YotaPhone) November 17, 2014
A major difference between the YotaPhone 2 and the original is the rear screen is now touch controlled, rather than relying on the awkward touch panel used before. Each display is covered in Gorilla Glass 3 for improved feel and protection.
In addition to the two screens, the YotaPhone 2 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. A wirelessly charged 2500mAh battery is inside the 9mm thick phone, and depending on how you use the YotaPhone 2, that e-paper screen could save you a lot of energy — especially if you read ebooks on your phone.
There is an 8-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash and autofocus fitted to Yota’s newest phone, plus a 2.1-megapixel selfie cam. Other features include 4G LTE connectivity, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and 32GB of internal storage space.
If black isn’t your favorite color of choice for a smartphone, Yota sat down with Engadget and announced it will release a white version of the YotaPhone 2. The main differences are, of course, the new white color and redesigned buttons, with the power and volume buttons now brushed metal. The detailing around the camera also changed, as well as the YotaPhone logo on the rear having a silver color instead of the white and gray colors of the logo on the black variant.
Yota also created a new “white theme” for the E Ink display on the white YotaPhone 2. In short, the black colors of the YotaPhone UI are now white, and vice-versa. Even though this theme was created with the white dual-screened smartphone in mind, you can also use the theme on the black color.
Along with the new color, Yota fine-tuned its YotaPhone UI to have YotaCovers and YotaPanels on the same tier. YotaCovers used to function as something similar to a lockscreen, while YotaPanels acted as widgets. You’d have to switch between the two, though Yota now allows for swiping between them, with the onscreen button that used to change between the two now acting as a home button.
In addition, new YotaCovers include a smart TV remote that works over Wi-Fi and social networks feeds such as Facebook and Twitter. New YotaPanels include a Gmail widget and a note-taking app, which can sync with Google Drive.
Finally, the YotaPhone 2 launched with Android 4.4 KitKat when it was released, but Yota announced that an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop has begun rolling out. Keep in mind that this is a staged rollout, so if you own a YotaPhone 2, you might not see the update right away.
Updated on 05-13-2015 by Williams Pelegrin: Added in the YotaPhone 2’s recent price drop, new color option, and update to Android Lollipop.
Updated on 01-14-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in news that T-Mobile may carry the device in the U.S.
Updated on 01-09-2015 by Williams Pelegrin: Added in information about American and Canadian availability.
Updated on 12-04-2014 by Andy Boxall: Added in confirmation of the price and UK release date.
Updated on 12-03-2014 by Andy Boxall: Added in final specifications, pictures, and details from the launch event
Article originally published on 11-17-2014