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NEC Medias W dual screen Android phone demoed at MWC

by Mark Tyson on 27 February 2013, 12:30


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The NEC Medias W dual screen Android smartphone was previously seen in Japan (where it will be released in April) and as a mock-up at last year’s MWC. At this year’s MWC in Barcelona attendees have managed to get their hands on the device for a bit of a test drive and it looks good and seems to work well. As a user would wish, the two screens can work together; as one big screen (with a big black line down the middle), or as two independent displays.

The NEC Medias W N-05E is equipped with two 4.3-inch qHD (540 x 960) displays. The smartphone folds in half with a screen on both the main surfaces and opens up to provide a combined screen diagonal of 5.6-inches. When opened up and with the Android home screen is on display you get to see two home screens at once, panning left and right shuffles them along smoothly.

The two screens can work as one large screen which may be useful for getting a bigger view of maps and certain websites. In another mode the NEC Medias W is capable of using the two screens independently - in an intelligent way. For instance the photo gallery app can show thumbnails on one screen and selected full screen images on the other.

Holding the device sideways and invoking a program in which you enter text presents you with the Android soft keyboard on the lower screen, nice and big... Another useful little trick is video mirroring where if the Medias is bent into an inverted V shape, then people sitting across from each other can watch the same video or other AV content.

The core specs of the NEC Medias are as follows; a dual-core Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage with microSD expandability, an 8.1MP camera and a 2,100mAh battery. The OS is Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Folded up it’s just over 12mm thick.

The NEC Medias W is only announced for availability in Japan (April). Would any HEXUS readers be interested in buying a device like this?

HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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Yes, it looks interesting but I think its a missed opportunity here with the black bar down the middle. If they could get the screens to the device edges it immediately makes it more useful and deserable. I think we could see more of these in the future as it offers a good way to balance portability with big screen size. (and you wouldnt look like a complete tit making a call on it)
They should have learnt from this…


The black bar in the middle is a killer for this, and the fact that the vast majority of apps don't work on both screens, leaving the second screen redundant for the most part unless using built in apps.
It's a lovely idea - I still really want a Sony P just as a toy..but I don't think it works that well in the real world.

What they need are the Samsung flexible OLED screens that they showed off last week - that will let you build a device like this without that nasty black bar..removing much of the complexity as then tis just a single screen that gets stretched/bent.

All that said, if you are going to release a device like this then Japan in the place to do it - this sort of crazy gadget is very popular over there :)
plus I would have thought battery life would be a major issue on a device like this having to power 2 displays
Would any HEXUS readers be interested in buying a device like this?
I'm probably the wrong person to ask because the sheer unusualness of it appeals greatly. Downside is obviously going to be crappy battery life, since display seems to be a big consumer of the “juice”. Although make it thick enough to hold a decent battery and that argument kind of disappears.

It's a good first attempt - but I can't help thinking that it'd be spectacular if they can get one of those edge-to-edge displays in there. Although even there you're surely going to have a visual discontinuity - unavoidable imho if you're using two screens rather than one folded one.

I particularly like the idea of that screen filling keyboard, although the possibility of reading emails/twitter on one screen while watching a video on the other also has some limited appeal.
I'm just waiting for well made Android phone with physical keyboards to appear again.