YotaPhone 2The YotaPhone 2 was one of the most intriguing devices to come up on the TeleRead radar for quite some time. A slick-looking well-specced Android smartphone with a built-in e-paper display in its shell? That could almost be the perfect mobile e-reading device. Chances are, though, that very few readers will have actually seen one.

That could be about to change with the news that parent company Yota Devices has received a just under 65 percent investment from a Hong Kong-based investment company, REX Global Entertainment Holdings, “at a cash consideration of $100 million.” The Hong Kong Stock Exchange regulatory filing gives no indication of any change in strategy, or management. And previous statements by Yota CEO Vlad Martynov indicate that the company is looking to China as its main market.

Yota Devices did hold a very successful Indiegogo campaign for its YotaPhone 2 device in the summer, which was 572 percent funded for a total of almost $300,000. That flew under the headline “Support the dual-screen revolution with YotaPhone 2 in North America!” Unfortunately, it does look like the Asian investment is likely to push the device into the China market first, but at least it might find its way to the West in greater numbers sooner or later.


  1. The downside is that this is likely to be viewed as an ereader with an attached, nothing-special phone. I doubt there’s much of a market for that. It’s a bit like buying a car for the stereo system. A few people will buy that way but not many.

    My fear is that e-paper devices are doomed to slow decline by the business motives of one of the technology’s earliest supporters—Amazon. Amazon has no vested interest in the technology itself. It’s merely a way to sell ebooks, with the distinct disadvantage that it’s not a way to sell movies or games. That’s why cheap tablets interest Amazon more than cheap epaper readers.

    Amazon’s artificially low prices, proprietary standards, and market dominance, in turn, make it hard for some other company, call them Epaper R Us, to make and sell a varied line of epaper readers from rugged, pocket-sized models for kids to large displays for reading legal and scientific documents. More and more, when people think of digital reading they think of a tablet or perhaps smartphone not an epaper reader.

    Keep in mind the ‘fewer the gadgets the better’ principle. If a tablet does 90% of what an ereader does and more, tablets won’t just supplement ereaders. They will replace them. Most people aren’t going to keeping buying, maintaining, and upgrading yet another device just for reading in bright sunlight.

    That’s sad, but I’m not sure what can be done about it. All efforts to the contrary seem to come to naught.

  2. I don’t like my high quality iPhone screen for color, I like it for text!
    I’d love a dual sided iPhone with eInk on the back.

    I’d need the Kindle app to support it. Time, notifications and caller ID for when not reading.

    I’d like e-mail to support it, but I’m not sure the refresh rate would be enough to keep up. I used to check occasionally on my 3G Kindle Keyboard, but I don’t know if the slowness was the display or the 3G connection or both (or the gmail interface).

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