First Russian smartphone to go on sale later this fall

The price of a new YotaPhone in Russia will amount to about $600.. Source: Press Photo

The price of a new YotaPhone in Russia will amount to about $600.. Source: Press Photo

Russia’s YotaPhone is set to hit store shelves as early as November.

The first Russian manufacturer YotaPhone smartphones has signed a contract with the country’s leading cellular network stores Evroset, Sviaznoy, MTS and Megafon. Smartphones will go on sale in November, as Vedomosti learned.

The company's website already allows visitors to pre-order the sensational phone model, which won the CNET Best of CES Award for its dual-screen on a mobile device at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There are plans to begin selling the phone abroad soon.

Yota Devices has been developing mobile devices (first operating in WiMax networks, and now in the LTE format) for six years. The company introduced its first YotaPhone back in 2012, promising that its mass production would be launched later.

The smartphone is equipped with two screens — one is a traditional screen and the other is based on electronic paper technology. The second display consumes a fraction of the energy and can permanently store an image on the screen without fading out, as Yota Devices managing director Mark Miller explained to Vedomosti.

The smartphone’s design was developed in Russia, and its parts are from overseas: The chips are from Qualcomm, the displays are from Japan Display and eInk, etc., and the assembler is a major Asian manufacturer.

This will probably be the first attempt of a Russian brand to break into the average price niche: The unit will cost about 20,000 rubles ($600) in Russia, according to the general director of Yota Devices, Vladislav Martynov.

A Yota Devices employee says that the developer is fixed on the 20,000 rubles ($600) price, although the company is still in the process of finalizing negotiations with the parts manufacturers. Retailers believe that the smartphone may cost 22,000–25,000 rubles ($660-$750).

A person associated with Yota Devices notes that the smartphone is cheaper than the Apple and Samsung flagship models, and it is fundamentally different from them because of its second screen.

In late August, Yota Devices brought together application developers for Android. The company plans to install a smart suite of applications designed for the two screens to be used simultaneously.

Projections and competitors

With good marketing support, the Russian smartphone may be out of stock after selling 50,000 phones in the first six months, says Telecom Daily managing director Denis Kuskov. To compare, in the first two months of sales in Russia, 150,000 Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones were sold, and, a month after its premiere, nearly 100,000 iPhone 5 units were sold.

First published in Russian in Vedomosti.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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