Kyocera Zio

Sprint's surprise: a dual screen phone from Kyocera?[updated]

February 7, 2011: 1:36 PM ET

The Wall St. Journal paints a deliciously intriguing picture of a smartphone that opens up into a tablet, set to be announced in a few hours.

Sanyo Zio, sooo not the Echo

We'll be at Sprint's(S) presser later today and if the WSJ reports are true, it might be a doozy.  Google's (GOOG) Android is about to get a two-screen device if the report is true.

Sprint Nextel Corp. plans to unveil a smartphone late Monday that includes a twin set of touch screens that give the device a pseudo-tablet design, according to a person familiar with the device.

The device, called the Echo and made by Kyocera Corp. of Japan, features two 3.5-inch touch screens that can be stacked side by side.

This is an important form factor to consider as the lines between smartphone and tablet converge.  A tablet with the form factor of a smartphone would be an interesting proposition.

The question will obviously be execution.  Can Sprint, the third largest mobile company in the US and Kyocera, a mostly unknown Qualcomm spinoff pull off a design that works for consumers?

Kyocera aquired the mobile phone manufacturing arm of Qualcomm(QCOM) in 2000 and further bolstered its phone manufacturing capabilities by buying Sanyo's phone operations in 2008.

Sprint currently carries the Sanyo Zio Android 2.1 bargain phone.  This Echo sounds like it is in a different league.  We'll be on hand tonight to find out.

Update: Sprint's site reveals some clues (below)
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