Here’s something different — when CRBT talks about dual screen smartphones, they mean it. They’ve gotten together with SMS Audio to create the Siam 7X, a smartphone with a full-sized eInk display on the back. Why? That’s a good question, and one they’ll have to answer convincingly if their Kickstarter campaign is going to be successful.
The Siam 7X is a 5″ Android 5.1 Lollipop smartphone with a 4.7″ eInk touch display on the back. The backside display can be used for notifications, news and social feeds, music controls, calendar, weather, and widgets, but the most useful thing might be that you can throw a map to the back and use it for navigation. That’s probably not that helpful when you’re in the car and getting directions from your phone while it’s mounted, but it seems like it would be pretty handy when you’re walking or taking public transportation — you can use your phone and just flip it over when you need to see where you are, instead of leaving whatever app you’re using on the front. It looks a little wild in practice, but we’ve seen this idea implemented in smartphone cases before, so it’s not totally unheard of.
The body of the Siam 7X has the same rounded edges as the iPhone 6 family, along with downward firing speakers. On the side there are two card slots — one for the primary SIM, and one that can be used either for a second SIM card or a MicroSD card up to 64 GB.
Other than the backside display, we’re looking at a budget smartphone on paper. The Siam 7X has a 1280 x 720 resolution IPS front display and runs on a 1.3 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor and 2 GB of RAM. There’s a 16 MP rear camera with autofocus that can take 1080p video and an 8 MP front camera. Connectivity features include LTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0, but apparently no NFC. The battery isn’t too big at 2,100 mAh, so we’re not sure how good battery life will be. Being an eInk display, the second screen shouldn’t be too much of a power drain, at least. As of now, the phone will only come in a 16 GB model.
Besides getting their name on the front of the phone, SMS Audio is getting involved by bundling in a pair of their BioSport earphones in some of the Kickstarter backing tiers. If you want to preorder a Siam 7X, the cheapest option is the current Early Bird $420 tier, which includes the phone and those earbuds. You’ll also get a lifetime warranty, a free upgrade to the next model, and a bumper case, so if the $420 price tag seems a little high for this phone, those perks explain it. That said, $420, even unlocked, is extremely high for what amounts to a budget phone. Still, it’s the cheapest way to go dual screen given that those eInk cases we mentioned are only made for extremely expensive, high-end phones.
The Kickstarter is live now with a funding goal of $50,000.
UPDATE 11/06/2015: The Kickstarter campaign for the Siam 7X was suspended due to a copyright issue. The campaign has relaunched on Indiegogo. Per CRBT:
On behalf of CRBT Inc., we want to notify you that the Kickstarter campaign for the Siam 7X smartphone has been suspended due to a minor copyright infringement issue with the spelling of its E-Ink display feature. We have quickly resolved the issue and have re-launched the crowdfunding campaign for Siam 7X dual-screen smartphone. This will not affect our promise to deliver the smartphone to backers in early December. Thank you to all those who previously donated. We now ask you to show your support by donating to our new campaign here: https://www.indiegogo.com/