Russian search behemoth Yandex launched its first phone yesterday. The unimaginatively named Yandex.Phone runs Android and is designed around the company’s own apps, including a custom launcher.
The phone also supports the search company’s own Russian AI assistant, Alice. instead of Google Assistant; Available on Android, iOS, and, Windows, Alice can assist users with maps, weather, music, calendar, and voice calls.
Under the hood, the device features run-of-the-mill specifications for a mid-range phone:
- Screen: 5.65-inch FullHD+ LCD
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
- Rear camera: 16-megapixel + 5-megapixel
- Front camera: 5-megapixel
- RAM: 4GB
- Internal memory: 64GB
- Battery: 3,050 mAh
- Software: Android Oreo 8.1 with Yandex launcher
The company boasted about deep integration of its services on the device, as well as its learning capabilities:
Our smartphone gives Russian mobile users unrivaled integration with our ecosystem with a mobile experience personalized with Yandex apps and services. Yandex Phone learns more about its owner’s schedule as they use the phone, and the phone provides notifications based on what its user is doing. Integration with Yandex Maps gives users timely traffic updates while Yandex Weather provides hyperlocal forecasting.
This is Yandex’s second hardware product after it launched an Alice AI-powered speaker in May. The company has been a long-standing rival of Google’s in Russia. In 2016, Yandex won an anti-monopoly lawsuit against Google, freeing Russian phone makers from mandatorily including the Mountain View company’s apps – like Search and Maps – in their Android devices.
The phone costs 17,990 rubles ($270) and will be available at Yandex’s flagship store in Moscow, as well as through carriers and online retailers from December 7.
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