First Russian smartphone, YotaPhone, launched in Moscow


Vladislav Martynov, CEO of Yota Devices company, presents the new YotaPhone smartphone during a ceremony in Moscow. Photo - Reuters

Moscow: Russia's first domestically designed smartphone, the YotaPhone, was unveiled in Moscow on Wednesday, featuring an always — on second screen as a unique feature to differentiate it from the plethora of competitors.

The phone, which used Google's Android operating system and has a fixed price of 499 euros ($678), will be launched in December in Russia and Germany in stores and online in France, Spain and Austria.

The device "rethinks our relation to smartphones," said YotaPhone's general director, Vlad Martynov, who unveiled the smartphone in a contemporary art gallery in Moscow.

As well as the full-colour touch screen standard on all smartphones, the YotaPhone has a black-and-white screen on its back using the same electronic ink technology as on reading devices such as
Amazon's Kindle.

This extra, low-energy screen remains on all the time, even when the phone is switched off, allowing the user to check the time, messages, a schedule or a map without having to "wake up" the unit, limiting battery drain.

Following the December launch, the phone will go on sale in some other European countries, including Britain and Switzerland, and in the Middle East, including in Egypt.

The makers said they have no current plans to offer the phone in Asia or the United States.

Despite boasting a big pool of expert engineers and IT specialists, no Russian company has so far been able to build a dominant position with locally designed computers or mobile phones.

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