There was a moment, back in 2012, when we had some quiet doubts about the YotaPhone. The first prototype was desirable, useful, and far beyond any kind of gimmick -- but it also seemed like it'd be hard to manufacture for a reasonable price, especially by a company that has never built a phone before. After all, this is effectively two devices rolled into one: an LTE Android phone with a 4.3-inch LCD display on one side, plus an e-reader on the other side, offering always-on notifications from the OS and the luxury of over 60 hours of e-book reading time thanks to good old E Ink technology.
Fortunately for us, and for any other phone lover on this planet who appreciates fresh ideas, such fears were unfounded. The Russian engineers at Yota Devices have overcome the many technical challenges that stood in their way, and the fruit of their efforts will go on sale in Europe later today via a dedicated online store, priced at a not-so-wacky 499 euros ($675). Admittedly, that may seem like a lot to ask if you focus solely on the specs -- like the 720p resolution of the LCD or the mid-range Snapdragon S4 Pro processor -- but it starts to make sense when you take a look at just how unique this thing is. And now that we're holding the final hardware in our hands, we're able to do just that.