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ZingTech: YotaPhone 2

So we have some news for you... The YotaPhone 2 gets a new colour and it’s white.

The YotaPhone 2, with AMOLED on the front and E Ink on the back is already a striking handset thanks to its dual-screen design. It is not as eccentric as the new, white version of the device launched on 13/05/15. A different colour scheme is not the only thing Yota Devices has to announce as the price of the handset is also dropping significantly in Europe.

Regardless of what model you are looking at purchasing, all current owners will be pleased to hear that an update to Android 5.0 Lollipop has begun rolling out. In addition to Google’s improvements, the new version also includes a bunch of YotaPhone-specific tweaks that let you do more with the E Ink display.

The new white YotaPhone 2 is not a straight reversal of the all-black mode. The only plastic on the rear and sides of the device have changed hue. The front panel has remained black for a number of reason. A black front is just easier on the eye, especially when framing an AMOLED display since it accentuates the high level of contrast and the company did not care to blindly reskin the handset.

YotaPhone 2 White

Europeans are in luck as the YotaPhone 2 has received a price cut with both black and white models on sale in the UK for £440 and elsewhere in Europe for 599 euros through Yota’s online store. The white version can also be purchased online in certain CIS and Middle Eastern countries where the black model is available but at full price.Obviously, the switch from black to white plastic is the most apparent change but a couple of other parts have been tweaked to make the new colour scheme work. The power key and volume rocker are now brushed metal as is the detailing around the primary camera and the small YotaPhone logo on the E Ink side is now silver instead of white.

As for improving software, one development is the “white theme” on the E Ink display. Quite simply, it is an inverted version of the YotaPanel UI that runs on the E Ink side so what was black is now white. It was created so that YotaPanels looked better and natural on the new version of the handset although you can select either theme. The phone is being updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop while the white model comes with the latest version as standard.

The company’s custom software used to be layered called YotaCover up front and widget filled YotaPanels. The YotaCover used to function as a lockscreen, showing background images the user selects and an overview of unread notifications if you allowed it. So now YotaCovers and YotaPanels are on the same level rather than tiered, letting you swipe between them and that onscreen key is now a home button.

Setting up YotaCovers is easier on the latest YotaHub app which is what you use to manage everything that happens on the E Ink side. You can pull images from the device, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ and change them automatically as quickly as every five minutes. New Cover options are more like full sized widgets that would not fit into any of the YotaPanel grid layouts.

Other new YotaCovers include YotaRemote, a smart TV remote that works over WiFi and is compatible with the majority of recent Samsung and LG TV’s from the get go. There is a YotaFit app which is being worked on by two partners to create their own fitness apps. There are plenty of new widgets that slot into the YotaPanel, grid layouts and most notable of which is the new Gmail widget that was apparently one of the most requested features. There is YotaSports powered by EuroSport and a simple to-do list and note-taking app YotaNotes which can sync with Google Drive.

Yota hopes that by adding more functionality to the E Ink display, consumers will see more value in the quirky and niche device. The company does not want to do all the work itself, though has launched a new SDK it says is simpler than the last and encourages developers to build widgets that allow for quick interactions on the E Ink side without needing to overhaul the way their apps work.

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