Say what you will about Kyocera Echo – and many reviewers already have – but one thing is for sure, it’s unusual. The phone, which made its debut in Sprint retail channels yesterday, is the first Android smartphone to sport two touch screens held together with a pivot hinge.
The $199 device comes preloaded with a customized version of the Jibe 2.0 Social Messenger App, which allows users to post and share media and status messages and view friends, newsfeeds and comments across their social networks. So, in a sense, it’s the perfect app for multitaskers who want more than one screen.
Kyocera seems to think so. “Dual touchscreens on Kyocera Echo make it ideally suited to multitasking and that’s exactly the beauty we saw in Jibe Mobile’s Social Messenger reference application,” said John Chier, spokesman for Kyocera Communications. “With its great feature set, Jibe has created a multitasking tool for social media, letting users access and manage communications and information from many different services in a unique, intuitive way. Jibe and Echo are a great fit.”
Jibe is based in San Mateo, Calif., with offices in London and Tokyo. It has done business with Vodafone and KDDI and has about 20 employees in Japan, according to Jibe’s CEO, Amir Sarhangi. The deal with Kyocera and Sprint marked Jibe’s first big U.S. deal.
The way Jibe views it, operators’ real competitors these days are the likes of Apple and Google, and they need to open their networks to more developers who can create a whole new class of apps that enable real-time engagement and collaboration.
Jibe’s vision for an “app-to-app” community involves the ability to see who’s playing a game and communicate with each other in real time. “There are use cases where sharing will be much more live and real time. That’s what we enable; our platform is about enabling,” Sarhangi says. “We can enable content, communication, video chat to be inserted into their app and put this together with a social wrapper.”
Jibe earned the Best Rich Communication Suite Mobile Client award at GSMA’s RCS Dev Challenge during Mobile World Congress back in February.