By Stephen Schenck | March 14, 2011 5:00 PM
Sprint just unveiled the dual-screen Kyocera Echo back at the beginning of February, and now the company is ready to commit to a release date, announcing that the Android smartphone will be available on April 17 for about $200, with pre-orders opening a week from Saturday, on March 26.
We were intrigued by the phone’s concept when we gave it a hands-on look, and Kyocera certainly seems to have come up with a well-executed design. For a dual-screen phone, we were impressed it didn’t weigh more, and the construction of the all-important hinge seemed suitably beefy. While functional, we did note that the design wasn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing.
The Echo runs a 1GHz Snapdragon with 512MB of RAM, which sounds powerful enough for most users, but we noticed the phone was a bit laggy when trying it out. Perhaps the second screen just pushes that hardware farther than it’s comfortable going. The lag we experienced may have been due to the custom versions of apps needed to take advantage of the secondary screen in all its various display modes; there’s a chance that Kyocera has been able to optimize its code since the phone’s debut. We’ll know if it’s managed to turn the Echo from a neat idea into a decently-performing, user-friendly product in a little over a month.