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First Dual-Touchscreen Phone Arrives in April

Tuesday Sprint said that the wait is nearly over, as the nation's first dual-screen smartphone, the Kyocera Echo, is slated to arrive as a Sprint exclusive on April 17. Sporting two 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreens, Android 2.2 "Froyo" (although images suggest Gingerbread), and slightly resembling Nintendo's DS handheld gaming platform, the phone will cost $199.99 with a new two-year contract.

"Continuing to set the bar high in Android innovation, Sprint is thrilled to bring this industry-first device to the market," said Fared Adib, vice president Product, Sprint. "Kyocera Echo’s unique dual-screen, Simul-tasking capabilities allow customers to do things they have never before done on a wireless handset. We believe customers will really appreciate and leverage the dual-screen capabilities and are excited to partner with Kyocera to bring this innovation to Sprint customers."

According to the specs, the dual-screen smartphone will come packed with a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g and 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi hotspot capability, a 5MP camera with flash, autofocus and digital zoom, 720p HD video capturing, stereo Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 1 GB of on-board memory and an additional 8 GB microSD card already installed (the slot supports up to 32 GB). It also features a digital compass, accelerometer, proximity sensor, light sensor and GPS.

Naturally the phone's biggest feature is the dual-screen setup. In Single-Screen Mode, users can conserve battery life by turning off one of the screens. In Simul-Task Mode, two of seven specific Echo apps can run on each display simultaneously. In Optimized Mode, optimized apps will take advantage of both screens including an email client which will display the message on the top screen and a virtual keyboard on the bottom. Finally, there's the Tablet Mode, turning both displays into a single, 800 x 960 touchscreen "tablet."

"Customers can reserve their Echo for purchase at www.sprint.com/echo beginning Saturday, March 26, while supplies last," the company said. "Customers who reserve Kyocera Echo will be able to complete their purchases beginning at 9 a.m. ET on March 26, and must complete their purchases no later than April 14 at 9 p.m. ET. The devices will be available for pick up on April 17."

Sprint and Kyocera have also launched the "Duel for Dual Sweepstakes" for a chance to win the smartphone. The entry form is somewhat hidden within Sprint's promotional Flash game that's located here.