YotaPhone Release: Russian Start-Up Challenges Smartphone Market

By Cindy Drukier, Epoch Times
December 4, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Russia has released its own version of a smartphone called the YotaPhone that’s available for pre-order as of December 4.

The main innovation of the YotaPhone is that its always on. The phone has two screens layered on top of each other, a regular LCD display and an E-ink screens like those used in e-readers. The E-ink screens use very little energy so they can stay on all the time and won’t drain your battery while reading.

“The typical user picks up and activates their smartphone more than 150 times a day,” explains Yota Devices CEO Vlad Martynov in a release. “Why?  Because users worry that messages or information they need or want are hidden behind their phone’s black screen.  This is a huge distraction and can impede meaningful interaction with our friends, families and colleagues.”

The Russian start-up is hoping to be a disrupter in the European smartphone market. It is currently being released in Russia, Austria, France, Spain, and Germany and by the end of the first quarter of 2014 it aims to be in 20 markets in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Europe, and the Middle East.

The phone retails for 19,990 RUB in Russia ($600 USD) and 499 euro ($675 USD) elsewhere. 

The phone uses the Android operating system. The displays are a bit smaller than the iPhone 5 (4.3 inches compared to 5 inches) and it’s also a bit heavier weighing in at 5 ounces versus 3.95 for the latest iPhone.