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Kyocera announces developer program for Echo smartphone

At CTIA 2011, Kyocera unveiled an SDK to encourage development of applications and games that will utilize the Echo's dual screens.

Kyocera Echo Bonnie Cha/CNET

Orlando, Fla.--Kyocera today announced a developer's program for the company's new Echo Android handset that it unveiled with Sprint last month. The Kyocera Android Developer Program won't formally launch until April 17, but the company will show off the SDK at CTIA 2011.

The program is meant to encourage development of applications and games that will utilize the Echo's dual screens. Categories include gaming, social networking, mobile entertainment, location-based services, and productivity.

Kyocera also announced the initial list of developer partners who will issue the first apps optimized for the handset. For the most part, one screen will be used to show the app's content (whether it's gaming, videos, or maps), while the other screen will display user controls or a menu. So far, users can expect the following titles in each of the categories.

  • Gaming: Electronic Arts will preload The Sims 3 on the Echo. One display will show the game, while the other will have controls. Other gaming titles that will be available for purchase include Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD and Spider-Man: Total Mayhem from Gameloft, and Pac-Man and Pool Pro Online 3 from Namco Bandai.
  • Social networking: Jibe Mobile integrates a variety of social networking services like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google Talk, YouTube, Flickr, and Picasa. The impact of the dual screens may be less profound here; users will just be given more room to use the service.
  • Mobile entertainment: The MobiTV will show video content on one screen with a channel and program listing sitting on the other display.
  • Location-based services: Like the other titles, the Telenav GPS Navigator app can show different content on the screens. Alternatively, users can extend the map across both displays.
  • Productivity: It won't use both screens, but users can extend a Swype keyboard to use the entire space of one of the 3.5-inch displays.

Though Bonnie Cha already gave her hands-on impressions of the Echo at the launch event in February, we'll revisit the device in Orlando to take another look. Potential developers can download the SDK at Kyocera's site.