Saturday, February 22, 2014

Could YotaPhone, Russia’s First Smartphone, Become a Major Player?

The YotaPhone, developed by privately-owned Russian tech startup Yota Devices, is quite unique – it is a dual-screen device using an Android operating system.

It features a traditional LCD-color display on one side and an electronic-paper display similar to the Amazon Kindle on the other. Its 4.3-inch 1280 HD display is slightly larger than the iPhone 5 and smaller than the 5-inch Galaxy S4.

It will be sold for $675 in Europe and $600 in Russia, which is slightly cheaper than the Apple iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

According to Vladislav Martynov, CEO of Yota Devices, the introduction of dual screens was “a revolution in telephone architecture”. He points out that before the YotaPhone, the back of smartphones had never been used before. YotaPhone’s electronic-ink display on the back displays information, including feeds from Facebook and Twitter, even when the phone is not used.

The first mock-up of the dual-screen phone was demonstrated in 2010 by Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rostekhnologii (currently Rostec, a government company that produces and exports high-tech equipment), to President Dmitri A. Medvedev, who is known to be a fan of Apple products.

Yota Devices wants to join search engine Yandex and antivirus company Kaspersky Lab as a global player. The company made a good start - the YotapPhone won a CNET Best of CES Award for “Hottest Mobile Device” at the CES in Las Vegas.

The latest version of the YotaPhone (the YotaPhone 2?) will be introduced on February 24, 2014 at the Mobile World Conference.

YotaPhone is currently being launched in Russia, Austria, France, Spain and Germany. More countries are expected to follow in 2014.

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