Two is always better than one. Except when it’s not. We’ve all seen cases where something was unnecessarily doubled and wondered if one might have been the better option, and I get that feeling whenever I see phones or tablets with two screens.

Ever since the Kyocera Echo debuted in February, I’ve been dismissive of the dual-screen gadget concept. The Echo struck me as interesting but odd. I had very little confidence that it would ever catch-on with users unless Kyocera managed to do something truly amazing with the simul-tasking feature.

So Imagine my surprise when Sony Ericsson announced its own dual-screen device, the S2 tablet, weeks later. A peculiar LG device with two screens was leaked a few weeks ago, and a Windows-powered Acer tablet was announced on Friday, so the dual-screen trend doesn’t seem to be fading away. Why?

Companies often do things that I don’t understand, but at least it’s because they see signs that consumers will want to buy that product. I don’t see anyone exactly starving for a phone with two screens and I honestly can’t remember a single instance of seeing the Echo in the wild. A tablet? I can actually see the potential in that, but I’m still surprised to see companies continue to trot out dual-screen devices without any sign of success in previous products (unless Nintendo counts).

Perhaps it’s the desire to succeed where others have failed that makes an Acer or Sony think, “What people really want is a dual-screen tablet like this.” Whatever the reason, I’m not seeing customers clamoring for two screens of any variety. Am I the only one who doesn’t care or are you someone who believes at least one company will eventually deliver a great dual-screen phone or tablet?

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