One of the few stand-out devices of the event, the innovative dual-screen smartphone has been honoured by CNET with an official award at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
While some phone makers, such as Samsung and Huawei, believe that the best way to ensure that a consumer can keep track of all of their alerts, notifications and reminders while surfing the web, listening to music and watching video clips on the go is to make a smartphone screen bigger and bigger -- Samsung's Galaxy Note II boasts a 5.5-inch and the Huawei Ascend Mate a 6.1-inch display -- Yota believes the solution is to offer a handset with two separate screens designed to fulfill different purposes.
The YotaPhone features a comparatively tiny 4.3-inch 1280x720p full-colour display on one side, but flip it over and it has another 4.3-inch EPD (electronic paper display) monochrome 'electric ink' screen (like that found on a Kindle or other e-reader) on its reverse. So altogether it actually offers almost twice the display real estate of a phablet, yet at 131x67X9.9mm can be easily and discreetly slipped into a trouser pocket.
The EPD screen is described by the phone's makers as the user's personal space, where photos and social media alerts are displayed and where the owner can read the news headlines and check the weather and upcoming calendar appointments.
Although only powered by a dual-core rather than quad-core Snapdragon processor, the YotaPhone has 2GB of RAM and an impressive 32 or 64GB of storage and crucially for an Android device, will ship with 4.2 Jelly Bean, the latest version of the operating system.
Designed and developed in Moscow, the YotaPhone is the first handset produced by Russian technology firm Yota Devices, which, until now has been focused on connectivity devices such as 4G LTE routers and modems.
Of the 'Best of CES' award, judged by technology site CNET, Vlad Martynov, CEO, Yota Devices, said: "Since we lifted the curtains on YotaPhone four weeks ago, we have been thrilled at how the tech community, developers and consumers have embraced the way our phone will change users' relationship and interactions with their phone. Receiving the Best of CES Award by the editors of CNET is another validation that we have created a whole new archetype in smartphones."
The YotaPhone is by no means the first handset to feature two screens, Samsung produces a line of dual-screen flip-phones with a fixed numerical keypad, the most recent of which -- the SCH-W2013 was designed for Asian martial arts superstar Jackie Chan and went on sale exclusively to Chinese consumers with an estimated $2,900 US price tag.
The YotaPhone is expected to be significantly more affordable when it officially launches in the second half of 2013. Further details are expected to be released at this year's World Mobile Congress, due to be staged in Barcelona, Spain in February, where the phone is guaranteed to make another appearance.
The CNET 'Best of' awards are one of seven categories of sponsored honors at CES. Other awards include the Stuff magazine-sponsored Hot Stuff Awards (focused on innovative and aspirational gadgets) and the Sound and Vision Stars of CES awards, judged by What Hi-Fi? magazine.