Rus­sia’s Yan­dex un­veils app phone

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Agency Staff Moscow

Rus­sian in­ter­net gi­ant Yan­dex launched its first smart­phone on Wed­nes­day in a highly an­tic­i­pated move into hard­ware to build on its pop­u­lar apps.

Rus­sian in­ter­net gi­ant Yan­dex launched its first smart­phone on Wed­nes­day in a highly an­tic­i­pated move into hard­ware to build on its pop­u­lar apps.

The com­pany be­hind the most widely used search en­gine in Rus­sia and the ex-Soviet re­gion has re­cently di­ver­si­fied to de­fend its mar­ket share against Google. Like its US ri­val, it has cre­ated pop­u­lar phone apps for ser­vices from taxi-hail­ing to or­der­ing take­away food.

The new smart­phone, called Yan­dex.Phone, will go on sale on Thurs­day in Rus­sia and on­line. It will cost 17,990 rubles ($269) — less than sim­i­lar phones from com­peti­tors Ap­ple and Sam­sung

— and will work with the An­droid sys­tem. While the de­sign was cre­ated by Yan­dex, the phone is made in China.

Yan­dex’s var­i­ous apps for pay­ment, mu­sic, maps, taxis and food are pre-in­stalled on the phone, which will also use a smart speaker called Al­ice (Alisa in Rus­sian), which uses ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and is sim­i­lar to Ama­zon s Alexa.

“We ’built Yan­dex.Phone to of­fer Rus­sian users a smart­phone that is equipped with all the lo­calised tools that help users bet­ter nav­i­gate their daily rou­tines,” Yan­dex of­fi­cial Fy­o­dor Yezhov said. “Within the smart­phone, the Yan­dex apps are pre­sented in the form of an ecosys­tem with Al­ice at its cen­tre. It’s not nec­es­sary to open in­di­vid­ual apps to solve a task just ask Al­ice.”

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