Yandex and Russia’s MTS to rival Google and Apple

MTS smartphone
Russia’s search engine Yandex and major telecom company MTS are teaming up to create their first smartphone complete with its own operating platform, as a rival to Google and Apple in their home market.

­The new device will run the Yandex.Shell system, which consists of the search engine, a new browser and the Shell 3D user interface. It also supports a group of apps such as Yandex.Mail and Yandex.Maps which can be preloaded on handsets. The company has also launched its Yandex.Store for Android apps, and is calling for developers to submit products. It will also integrate Kaspersky malware detection.

"The company can now offer an alternative package of mobile solutions to any OEM around the world who would like to build their own Android-based smartphone or tablet,” Yandex said in a recent statement.

The MTS and Yandex co-branded smart phone has a price tag of $240 and comes with one month free internet access and 2,500 bonus points in the operator's loyalty scheme.

Yandex has made major steps to increase its role in the Russian smartphone market to become the “Russian Google”. The company has struck a local deal with Apple, which will use Yandex maps instead of Google Maps on its own platform. It also has contracts with two of Russia's big three mobile operators, MTS and MegaFon mainly focused on their own-label Android devices.