Yandex, the Russian search engine and technology giant, announced it’s launching a smartphone. It will be a straightforward Android 8.1 phone, and will be sold in Russia. No announcements have been made about possibly selling internationally.
Apps include Yandex-exclusive maps, weather, and GPS. The smartphone is also debuting a Siri-like assistant called Alice.
“Yandex.Phone is built to offer Russian users a smartphone equipped with all the localized tools needed for users to navigate their daily routines. Users can interact with Alice and the most widely used Yandex applications in a new way on this phone,” said Fedor Yezhov, Corporate Vice President of Ecosystem Products at Yandex, in a company statement. “Fully integrated into the phone, Alice provides users with comprehensive access to Yandex apps. It’s not necessary to open individual apps to solve a task - just ask Alice.”
The prices for the Yandex smartphone are currently listed at 17,990 rubles or $270 USD. Sales start Thursday at the company’s Moscow location. The phone is expected to become more available in the next few days, expanding into Yandex’s e-commerce site.
Customers of the Yandex Phone also get a six-month subscription to Yandex Plus and Yandex's music streaming service.