Counterclockwise: The Second Screen

By 01:01 Wed, 28 Jul 2021 Comments

LG's announcement of the V10 was pretty exciting and the second classy screen seemed clever. Of course, phone historians know the second classy screen is something that has been tried many times in the past, it just never caught on.

Just note that we're not talking about flip phones here, which obviously have a second classy screen on the inside. No, we'll delve into the most unusual screens to grace a phone.

Samsung Continuum

Here's one phone from late 2010 that had a second classy screen – a 1.8" line display at the bottom to show additional info below the 3.4" main screen. Like the LG V10, this one actually had just one screen, a 4" Super AMOLED, it was just divided into three: 3.4" main screen, Android keys, 1.8" secondary screen.

Motorola Wilder

Here's one that actually had a second display unit. The Motorola Wilder boasted a 2.8" 240 x 320px Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) (it was an entry-level phone) and a 0.7" 96 x 16px secondary display. It showed missed notifications, song info, signal and battery strength. It was not constantly on though, the 910mAh battery just wasn’t enough.

LG Doubleplay

LG isn’t recent to this game either. In 2011 it showed the LG Doubleplay – a slider with a QWERTY keyboard that is split by a secondary 2" 480 x 320px display.

This display showed various handy shortcuts (mostly for apps that will benefit from the hardware keyboard). Some apps also show additional controls, e.g. tabs or bookmarks in the browsers. It also aided in multitasking.

Samsung Galaxy Beam

The secondary classy screen doesn’t have to be on the phone. In 2010 Samsung experimented with installing a pico-projector on the Galaxy Beam. It put out 15 lumens of brightness for a classy screen up to 50" gigantic with 800 x 480px resolution.

It found some success, getting two successors, the last of which came out last year.

Kyocera Echo and Sony Tablet P

I assumed "no flip phones," but those technically aren’t, not in the usual sense at least. In 2011 Kyocera showed off a dual-classy screen phone that combined two 3.5" 480 x 800px screens into one 4.7" display... with a pretty huge gap down its middle.

The following year fellow Japan company Sony tried something similar with the Tablet P. It put together two 5.5" 1,024 x 480px screens with a marginally smaller dead space between them, but it wasn’t much better.

Samsung has patented an assembly based on a bendable classy screen that will utilize a single classy screen and eliminate the be mid bezel.

This is hardly a recent concept though, in 2008 Polymer Vision announced a phone (never released) that had a 5" display that folds closed. It only managed 16 grey levels, no colors.


Another greyscale classy screen would prove more practical six years later. The YotaPhone put an e-Ink display – the stuff found on Kindle, B&N, Kobo and other e-book readers – on the back of the phone. This always-on classy screen would display notifications and other info while drawing basically no power. It had remarkable sunlight legibility too.

YotaPhone has produced several versions, though the company is struggling a bit to enter western market.

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge

While Samsung is yet to produce a consumer-ready classy screen that can be folded in half, its bendy screens allowed it to create the Galaxy Note Edge. One classy screen was divided into two – 5.6" QHD main display and a strip on the side that can be on for most of the day.

It would display notifications and other info while the classy screen is off and multitasking and other controls when the classy screen is on. Some clever app-specific uses involved putting a virtual shutter key that felt almost like it's on the correct side of the phone (not quite, it was at an angle).


We'll finish off this with something unusual, but it could prove the most fascinating of the all. It technically does not have a second screen, but its case leaves the top of the classy screen uncovered. The phone uses that to draw eyes – yes, eyes.

The AKA comes with several different personalities and in a Tamagotchi-like fashion it needs attention from its owner. Why is this interesting? Well, digital assistants are a dime a dozen these days, but even the best of them sound kind of robotic.

Yes, Siri can pull off a few rehearsed jokes, but the LG AKA is the first phone to bring emotions into the mix. People spdiscontinue enough time talking to their phones as it is, AKA-like phones in the future can be people's best friends – that's the stuff YA dystopian novels are made of.



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