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This article was published on June 4, 2013

Yandex debuts Yandex.Shell, a free 3D-ish UI alternative for Android devices

Yandex debuts Yandex.Shell, a free 3D-ish UI alternative for Android devices Image by: Spencer Platt
Robin Wauters
Story by

Robin Wauters

Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family a Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family and Belgian beer. If you'd like to know more about Robin, head on over to robinwauters.com or follow him on Twitter.

Russian Internet services giantYandex is today launching a free, multi-language end-user version of Yandex.Shell, its rich 3D-ish user interface for Android smartphones and tablets, after releasing it to device manufacturers, mobile operators and other B2B partners at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last February.

I say 3D-ish because it’s really only the homescreen that lets you switch between different screens using a 3D carrousel effect.

You should be able to download the app from Google Play here in order to give it a whirl. It comes with support for 28 languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

If it’s not available for you yet, hold tight, as the app is rolling out across the world in the next few hours. If you can’t wait, you can always check out a ton of screenshots at the bottom of this post.

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Yandex.Shell is essentially a wrapper / app launcher à la Facebook Home, enabling users to customize the look and feel of their Android device’s UI.

Yandex.Shell was initially launched for Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Turkey in March 2012, and has been downloaded more than 1.1 million times since then, according to the company.

Yandex.Shell was built by ex-SPB Software folks after Yandex acquired the company, which created the popular Shell 3D launcher for Android, in November 2011.

3D.Shell will continue to exist on Google Play, but will remain a paid app and will no longer be developed, Yandex says.

The company recommends people to download Yandex.Shell, however, because it says the new software comes with additional features onboard and consumes fewer smartphone or tablet resources.

Yandex says it will continue to monetize the B2B version of Yandex.Shell, delivering special builds of the launcher for OEMs, phone makers, carriers and whatnot. The end-user version will remain a free app, but the company says it “is thinking about monetizing” it down the line.

Yandex.Shell is part of Yandex’s alternative mobile ecosystem for Android, which also includes an app store, Yandex.Store.

Also read:

Opera and Yandex start One Platform Foundation to “help the Android ecosystem evolve”

Yandex signs Google agreement for submitting contributions to the Chromium project alongside Nvidia, Opera

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Top image credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images