Yandex has launched its first smartphone

Russian technology group Yandex has launched its first smartphone, as the company seeks to leverage its dominant position in apps and services into hardware sales. Yandex, which runs the most popular search engine in Russia, hopes its Android-based Yandex. Phone will bind users to its suite of products, from food delivery and ride-hailing apps to marketplace and music streaming platforms, as competition rises for online services. Rivals are racing for market share in Russia’s fledgling ecommerce industry, where Yandex and local lender Sberbank have teamed up to compete against international giants Alibaba and Amazon… The device will go on sale today at 17,990 roubles ($270), significantly less than comparable products from Samsung and Apple… Many internet companies share Yandex’s desire to move into hardware, to lock customers into their portfolio of products and offer richer experiences… Facebook tried to develop its own smartphone about eight years ago, but it was never launched. A subsequent effort to create a “Facebook Phone” by building on top of Android failed to catch on. Google, whose Android operating system runs on the majority of smartphones, has struggled to generate sales of its own Pixel devices.

Henry Foy and Tim Bradshaw