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Yota Debuts New Phone In Europe

Published: December 12, 2013 (Issue # 1790)

  • The new Russian smartphone feature dual screens.

Russian technology firm Yota Devices launched the worlds first dual-screen mobile phone on Dec. 4, breathing fresh air into the fast-growing and competitive smartphone market.

The YotaPhone has two screens a 4.3-inch touch screen with a familiar Android interface on the front and a curved Kindle-like electronic paper display on the back. Both screens are protected by the state-of-the-art scratchproof Gorilla Glass.

The back screen is designed to display e-books, alerts and text messages. As it only uses power to generate new images, the phone battery lasts up to 85 hours in e-book reading mode.

Even when the phone is switched off, the image on the back screen does not disappear a convenient feature for displaying a boarding-pass barcode, a map or just a wallpaper.

The device is not just another smartphone, Yota Devices chief executive Vladislav Martynov said at the launch. It is a new user experience that will change the way people use their phone.

Founded in 2011 to produce mobile connectivity devices for Yota, a private wireless internet provider, the base of Yota Devices business is LTE modems and routers, where the company has a worldwide market share of 6 percent.

The YotaPhone goes on sale this month. It will be available in Russia for 19,990 rubles ($600), and in Austria, France, Germany and Spain for 499 euros ($680). Next year sales will begin in the Middle East at a similar price. Currently, there are no plans to try the U.S. market.

If we really hit the mark then in two to three years everyone will be copying us, and we will be happy, Martynov said.

Artyom Lutfullin, editor of, however, poured cold water on that notion, pointing out that products with similar functionality already exist, such as mobile phone cases with built-in electronic paper displays on the back.

Bayram Annakov, from Moscow-based mobile application developer Empatika, said that while the idea of the always-on electronic paper display sounds interesting, it has yet to be seen if the market will adopt it.

Most likely, the device is not intended to become a smartphone as such, but as a platform upon which to sell applications and services suitable for the back screen, Annakov said.

Yota Devices goal was to create a product that was unlike anything else on the market, and they succeeded, said Lutfullin. YotaPhone cannot and will not compete against the market leaders, he said it has created a market segment of its own.

Yota may have a good chance smartphone sales grew 44.5 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2013 to reach 77.5 billion rubles, according to data from telecoms giant MTS.


Times Talk


Friday, Apr. 18

Teachers and students alike shouldnt miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.

The Tromso International Film Festival, Norways largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).

Sunday, Apr. 20

Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.

Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.

Monday, Apr. 21

Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.

Tuesday, Apr. 22

SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.

The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.