umi-zero-2

Chinese manufacturer Umi tends to be ignored most of the time around this side of the planet. Their focus market is definitely not the USA, but today they are getting a lot of attention from us thanks to a very interesting teaser the company has released through its social network accounts.

They call this phone the Umi Zero 2 and it has more than one thing that makes it special… it has two. The main design element in this phone is that it comes with a traditional smartphone screen, as well as what looks like an e-paper display on the back.

E-paper is the same panel technology we find in products like e-readers. These types of screens are known for their amazing energy efficiency, elongating battery life up to days (and even months), depending on the device. Some of these even have image retention, allowing you to, say, place a map in your e-paper display and leave it visible even if the phone is powered down.

Looks familiar? Yes, you have heard of something very similar to this phone. It’s pretty much the same concept Russian smartphone maker Yota Devices came up with when making the YotaPhone and YotaPhone 2. These couple of smartphones were the first to bring us a good Android experience mixed with a secondary e-paper display.

Yotaphone 2-4

In theory, it should be hard for Umi to really compete against Yota Devices at this point. We (like many other sources) gave the YotaPhone 2 a great review and we even named it one of our favorite CES 2015 products. The phone is already available in the USA, giving it a nice head start, but we doubt Umi really wants to compete against Yota Devices – at least not in markets outside Asia.

Another factor we have to keep in mind is that Yota Devices may be dropping Android in favor of Sailfish OS in future iterations of their popular smartphone line-up. If this ends up being the case, us Android fans will be left with no other option but to go with Umi if we really want that e-paper display.

yotaphone 2 white

Other details are still unknown, but recent rumors suggest the phone will come with a Mediatek MT6752 processor, 3 GB of RAM, a 5.2-inch screen, 16 GB of internal storage, a 13 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front-facing camera.

These specs are nothing but rumors, so don’t hold your breath on them, but if they prove to be right we will have a pretty good phone here. We are also almost sure Umi will offer the Zero 2 for much less money than the YotaPhone 2 costs.

How many of you are interested in a phone with an e-paper display? I personally love the idea. Hit the comments section and share your thoughts!

Edgar Cervantes
Edgar Cervantes has over 5 years of experience in tech journalism. Exploring the latest gadgets and constantly studying the industry are part of is daily drive.