05 December 2018
Russian internet giant Yandex has announced its expansion into smartphones with the launch of its first Android smartphone. It has been named Yandex.Phone and is aimed at Russian users. It is essentially an entry-level mid-range phone but is packed with all the Yandex apps and services along with digital assistant Alice which is used by millions of Russians on regular basis.
It is the whole Yandex ecosystem on which the company is relying for the sales of its smartphone. The Yandex.Phone comes pre-loaded with apps like Yandex.Maps, Yandex.Weather, Yandex.Taxi, Yandex.Money, and Yandex.Music. In other words, the phone has company's own apps and services to help users get things done fast.
Talking about the assistant Alice, Yandex said that it boasts of over 34,000 skills which are spread across a wide range of categories. Some of these include skills for booking cabs, cooking recipes, checking the weather, booking flights, and checking traffic conditions. One can say that Alice works pretty much the same way Amazon's Alexa works.
In terms of technical specifications, the Yandex.Phone sports a 5.65-inch Full HD+ (2160 x 1080 pixels) display but with no notch. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. There is a 12-megapixel and a 5-megapixel dual rear camera set up along with a 5-megapixel selfie camera. The whole package is powered by a 3050mAh battery and it ships with Android 8.0 Oreo. It also has a custom Yandex launcher for users to browse apps. It has been priced at RUB 17,900 (about $270) with sales starting December 6th.
Fedor Yezhov, CVP of Ecosystem Products at Yandex, said:
“Yandex.Phone is built to offer Russian users a smartphone equipped with all the localized tools needed for users to navigate their daily routines. Users can interact with Alice and the most widely used Yandex applications in a new way on this phone. Fully integrated into the phone, Alice provides users with comprehensive access to Yandex apps. It’s not necessary to open individual apps to solve a task - just ask Alice.”