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Russian tech giant Yandex unveils first smartphone

AFP  |  Moscow 

Russian internet giant on Wednesday launched its first ever smartphone, ending several weeks of for tech fans over the highly anticipated launch.

The company behind the most widely used in and the ex-Soviet region has recently diversified to defend its market share against Google, creating popular phone apps to order taxis and

The new smartphone, called Phone, will go on sale on Thursday in and also online. It will cost 17,990 rubles ($269) and will work with the system.

While the design was created by Yandex, the phone is made in Yandex's various apps for payment, music, maps, taxi and are pre-installed on the phone, which will also use a called Alice (Alisa in Russian), which is similar to Amazon's Alexa.

"We built Phone to offer Russian users a that is equipped with all the localized tools that help users better navigate their daily routines," Yandex official was quoted as saying in a press release.

"Within the smartphone, the Yandex apps are presented in the form of an ecosystem with Alice at its centre. It's not necessary to open individual apps to solve a task -- just ask Alice." The phone signals a major new phase in Yandex's development and is designed to rival giants like Apple, and

Yandex started in the 1990s as a similar to but has since expanded into every corner of the Russian internet with apps that Russians use every day.

The smartphone's launch comes after the company last month disappointed tech enthusiasts by summoning journalists to what turned out to be a presentation not of the but of its

The Yandex is not the first to be developed by a Russian company.

In 2013 the YotaPhone, designed in but also made in China, was launched with the gimmick of having screens on both sides. However it failed to set the market alight.

This time the company behind the smartphone has much more clout. It is listed on and is renowned for its creative flair.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 17:35 IST