Despite earlier promises that the Russian-made YotaPhone 2 will come to the United States, the world's first dual-screen smartphone featuring an AMOLED display in front and an e-ink screen at the back will not ship stateside after all.
The news was first reported by The Verge, which obtained an email from the Indiegogo-backed Yota Devices sent to the phone's backers who have pledged at least $500 to get their YotaPhone 2 when the device comes out later this year.
Yota says the decision was based on "unforeseen delays" in the manufacturing line that would have the company's U.S.-based customers getting the device in 2016 while other customers would then be able to get their hands on the phone's better and cheaper successor at the same time.
"This was a shock to everyone at Yota Devices, and our leadership team, including our CEO, met with the manufacturer last week in a last-ditch effort to find a solution but the logistics were insurmountable and the device would simply arrive too late," says Yota. "In turn, we believe that the likelihood of a severe delay in these shipments would have created a conflict with our international road map for 20106, leaving Indiegogo supporters behind when customers in other regions will be offered a newer, cheaper and better YotaPhone."
Backers who have pledged their money have two options. First, they can opt to receive the international version of the YotaPhone 2, but it does not have support for LTE. Instead, customers will have to make do with HSPA+, which means they will be using slower 3G and 4G connections in place of high-speed LTE, which raises the question of why one should purchase a $500 smartphone that lacks such an important functionality.
Of course, those who do not want to resort to 3G and 4G can have their pledges refunded, but Yota says it is still figuring out the logistics of how to send the refunds. One thing is for sure, however. The refund will not be sent back to backers' credit cards but will be sent to them directly.
The YotaPhone made quite a splash with the technology press when it was unveiled through Yota's crowdfunding campaign. The device's claim to fame is a dual-screen composed of a 5-inch AMOLED display in front and an e-ink display at the back, which can be used as a single screen to power the device up to five days, a feat that no other smartphone maker has achieved with their juice-guzzling displays, or as a secondary always-on screen that can provide important information such as the time, weather or social network notifications.