(Phys.org)—Springtime will spring a new two-screen smartphone in Japan from NTT Do Como, and there is a lot of talk in the air already about what the new Medias WN-05E will spell for a rising tide of form factors now dubbed "phablets." The two-screens in this phone are hinged back to back and provide the user with the opportunity to use the screens independently of each other—playing a game on one screen, for example, while checking out a map on the other screen—or having the two screens behave as one bigger screen. The smartphone is slated for an April release; pricing and a time frame to launch the phone outside Japan are not yet known.
The two-screen Medias W, with an 8.1MP camera, is an Android 4.1 smartphone; there are two 960 x 540 4.3-inch screens displays, and it has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 processor. The LCD screens are on the outside of the clamshell rather than the inside. The clamshell-shaped device, when unhinged, has screens that can operate side to side if you wish to multitask, or can be combined into a larger screen.
DigInfo TV has carried a video showing the phone and its functions. A map is shown on both screens; a user could check out a map on the bigger screen, putting up with the line seam in the middle, but would be able to pinch and zoom across the pair of screens.
As for text entry, the carrier is promoting the keyboard feature as easy to use and ideal for users keen on action on social networking sites, along with those who like the idea of a having a new sort of mini-tablet. Turned on its side, the bottom screen can behave as the keyboard.
Outside Japan, bloggers are already posing questions about what a two-screen form factor could mean with regard to predictions that the "phablet" form factor is poised for takeoff. The nuance is in bigger smartphones biting into established lines of smaller tablets. Estimates so far point to 2018 as the year phablets will show their strength in accounting for 25 percent of smartphone sales.
At the same time, tech watchers have noted that power issues could keep two-screen form factors from marketplace takeoff right away, but the new Medias W is worth watching nonetheless.
Explore further: Indiegogo project 'Switchmate' lets you run light switch from your phone without rewiring
More information: www.nttdocomo.com/pr/2013/001624.html