Central regions | Telecoms, media | Technology & innovation

Yandex launches own-branded, AI-powered smartphone in Russia

19 Dec '18
Earlier this month Yandex, the NASDAQ-listed Russian search giant, announced the release of its first branded smartphone, Yandex.Phone, EWDN reported.

Priced at around $270, this Chinese-made device weighs in a relatively modest range of smartphones. Still, it is overpriced according to mobile phone resellers, if considering its unimpressive design and speed.

But this device distinguishes itself by the large array of preinstalled Yandex apps, including certain prepaid services and the integration of an AI assistant.

From mail to maps and navigator, to e-commerce, to taxi hailing, to train schedule and weather, the Yandex apps have become extremely popular in Russia and other Russian-speaking areas. Key to their success have been their high technological performance, ease of use, and good adaptation to the local context.

Yandex went even further by integrating an intelligent assistant to its smartphone. Christened “Alice,” this assistant was launched nearly one year ago.

“For the first time, mobile users can use Russia’s most powerful intelligent assistant across all apps and services,” Yandex claims.

Thus, “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.” Alice is there to help users every day, suggesting for example “to dress warmly for cold weather tomorrow.”
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