E-ink continues to expand its presence at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, and one of the best advocates for the tech has been Yota Devices. The Russian company created the YotaPhone, a dual-display smartphone with an LED screen on one side, and a low-power e-paper display on the back. In 2014, they debuted the YotaPhone 2, a successor to the original that offered much better execution on the concept than the original.
We sat down with Yota Devices VP of Product Strategy Sharif Sakr at CES this year to talk about the YotaPhone 2, as well as the company’s overall goals and direction. The good new for those in the U.S. is that the YotaPhone 2 should arrive in that country shortly, with a price tag under the somewhat steep asking price it has abroad. The better news for tech fans in general is that Yota is amping up its product plans, with big dreams not only for the YotaPhone 3, but for a whole range of devices that use low-power e-ink screens to provide relevant information wherever and whenever you need it.
Sakr says that Yota sees many situations in which the kind of power-sipping, yet fully interactive and constantly updating screens like the one that adorns the back of the YotaPhone would be of benefit to consumers: thinks about household appliances, for instance, which don’t benefit much from rich, colorful graphics but which could still use a way to display information, and to do so well in various lighting conditions without adding to power draw or hardware complexity.
Yota is a great example of a company that learned heaps from an early misstep and came back with a product so improved it feels as if it came from someone else entirely – if they can put that kind of successful iteration to work in other verticals, they could become much more than a clever and quirky niche player.