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Phones

Russian search giant unveils its first smartphone, the Yandex.Phone

Yandex takes another page out of the Google playbook.

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Yandex

Yandex is following in Google's footsteps once more. Having built Russia's largest search engine, the Moscow-based tech giant has recently debuted a virtual assistant, a smart speaker -- and, now, a phone. 

Based on its specs, the Yandex.Phone is a pretty unremarkable handset that features a 2017 Snapdragon processor, hands-free access to the company's intelligent assistant, Alice, and a bunch of home-cooked apps running on Yandex's version of Android. Alice can respond to voice commands and provide relevant notifications, traffic updates and weather forecasts.

Here's a rundown of the Yandex.Phone's specs:

  • 5.65-inch LCD display (2,160x1,080-pixel resolution)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
  • Android 8.1 with Yandex.Launcher
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage with support for microSD
  • NFC, GPS, GLONASS connectivity
  • 16-megapixel dual rear cameras, 5-megapixel front camera
  • 3,050-mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0

In May, Yandex unveiled the Yandex.Station smart speaker, which featured integrated support for Alice. Since, then Alice has also appeared in cars and third-party smart speakers in Russia. Can a Yandex tablet -- something along the lines of the Pixel Slate -- be far off?

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Yandex

The Yandex.Phone costs 17,990 rubles (roughly $270, £210 or AU$370) and is available now from the Yandex Store in Moscow. Starting Dec. 7, the phone will be available from Yandex's online store as well as Russian carrier Beeline and other Russian electronics stores.