Internet, February 19, 2014. Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX), one of the largest internet companies in Europe and the leading search provider in Russia, has developed firmware for devices on the Android operating system.
Called Yandex.Kit, it is an out-of-the-box software solution that is installed on smartphones during their manufacture. The first smartphones with Yandex.Kit preinstalled – by producers Huawei and Explay – go on sale this spring.
The complexity of modern mobile devices is such that many people don’t make use of all their capabilities. Yandex.Kit aims to rectify this situation with an intuitive user experience, enabling anybody – even smartphone novices – to make full use all of their device’s features. The firmware brings together Yandex’s smart technologies with a simple interface and a selection of applications that are most in demand on the Russian market.
The firmware’s user-facing appearance is the latest version of the three-dimensional Yandex.Shell interface. This version of the Android home screen launcher and dialer is available only within Yandex.Kit. Useful services such as Yandex Search, Yandex.Maps and Yandex.Mail come already preinstalled as part of the Yandex.Kit package, while popular social networking apps, as well as any other apps, can be downloaded from Yandex.Store.
Yandex has used its experience in creating services specifically for Russian users to develop some of Yandex.Kit’s features. For example, a contacts search can find all forms of Russian names, including diminutives, in the Latin alphabet as well as in Cyrillic. Yandex.Kit’s “boundless” phone directory can identify phone numbers of incoming calls even if they aren’t saved in the user’s contacts book, such as ‘cold calls’ from banks, or offer phone numbers of the nearest pharmacies or restaurants based on the user’s current location. Yandex’s Android firmware has a keyboard that can guess the next word in Russian and even provide prompts in the correct case. When passwords are entered, they are shown in both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.
“Yandex.Kit will be enjoyed both by users and Android device manufacturers,” said Yury Vecher, Head of Software Distribution at Yandex. “The former get a smartphone that’s easy to use, while the latter receive all the necessary services and technologies for its creation, on flexible terms. Also, the revenues generated by Yandex.Kit will be shared with device manufacturers. We’re ready to work with any company manufacturing Android devices, on any market. For Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey we offer comprehensive, out-of-the-box solutions, and for other markets we are happy to offer a set of key services that are essential for creating firmware.”
Russian residents will get their first taste of Yandex.Kit in Huawei Honor 3 Yandex and Explay Flame smartphones. The first tablets on Yandex.Kit are expected this summer.