Jumbo Electronics, a leading IT, telecom and consumer electronics retailer and distributor in the region, and Yota Devices launched the highly anticipated YotaPhone in the UAE. The first “always-on” premium Android smartphone with a liquid crystal display on one side and an electronic paper display on the other, goes on sale today in the UAE at a retail price of Dhs2,199. Over the following months, YotaPhone will be available in 20 markets in the CIS, Europe and the Middle East.
YotaPhone is a totally new concept in mobile communications, designed to solve users’ frustrations with their current smartphones’ “always-dark” screen. By including a second screen that uses electronic paper display (EPD) technology, users have access to the information they want and need on a continual basis without having to wake up their phone. The technology also preserves smartphone battery power. In fact, in reading mode, YotaPhone has 7-10 times the battery life of other smartphones.
YotaPhone: Answer to the “always-dark” display
“The typical user picks up and activates their smartphone more than 150 times a day,” explains Yota Devices CEO Vladislav Martynov. “Why? Because users worry that messages or information they need or want are hidden behind their phone’s black screen. This is a huge distraction and can impede meaningful interaction with our friends, families and colleagues.”
Yota Devices realized three years ago that electronic paper display (EPD) technology could make information available and visible without draining battery life and began working with E Ink to adapt their proprietary technology for a dual-screen smartphone.
“Once we determined that an electronic paper display would work as a second screen, an array of new and improved user experiences became obvious,” said Martynov. “For example, YotaPhone combines a smartphone and e-reader into one device for those who enjoy reading on-the-go even in the brightest sunlight. You can save images and information on the second screen, and it stays there, even if you lose battery power. You can save anything on the always-on display from a map to a boarding pass. Information, like a missed call or meeting reminder, stays on the always-on screen until it is no longer needed.”
Special hardware and software developed for YotaPhone
Yota Devices worked with some of the world’s leading suppliers and manufacturers to adapt their technology for YotaPhone. For example, YotaPhone is the first smartphone to use Corning’s Gorilla 3 shaped glass. E Ink had to adapt its technology for a 4.3” screen and OEM Hi-P of Singapore worked with YotaPhone’s hardware engineering team to develop a special chassis to house YotaPhone’s six antennas on the outer rim.
Yota Devices developed patented software to allow information to be shared and used between YotaPhone’s two screens. It has also developed a number of innovative applications that come preloaded onto YotaPhone.
Efforts are ongoing to continue to increase the usability of YotaPhone’s EPD second screen. The Yota Alliance team is involved in increasing the number of apps and content, which will improve the YotaPhone experience for users, while building on the AlwaysOn and low battery drain mantra which is one of the core values of Yota Devices.
The Yota Alliance team is talking to partners globally and in the region to bring additional relevant content to the second screen. For the UAE they are in co-development phase with local content owners, particularly in the areas of special interests and faith, as well as local operators.
Award-winning YotaPhone facilitates more “emotional” communication
Since its unveiling one year ago, YotaPhone has received numerous awards and accolades, including Best of CES 2013 by CNET, PC Mag and Time magazine.
“YotaPhone isn’t just a new phone, it’s a new way for people to communicate and use information. Communication is more emotional and real with YotaPhone,” explained Martynov. It was this feature that caught the attention of the jury of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity when it gave YotaPhone an Innovation Lion award in July 2013.
YotaPhone presents text messages from your friends and loved ones using context sensitive database, for example emotional text will be displayed with images such as a heart or flowers. A “Smile for the Camera” message appears when taking a photo. Reminders with entertaining images appear on the always-on screen, like a cake for birthdays. YotaPhone can be a personal coach, keeping track of exercise regimens or reminding you of personal goals. When YotaPhone’s morning alarm rings, your custom daily RSS news feed appears. YotaPhone also has dynamic location-based wallpapers to keep users updated on their location, the time and the weather.
“We are a start-up company that had a big idea and we’ve executed on that idea. We looked at the smartphone from another side, literally, and created YotaPhone. We have many people and partners to thank, not least of which are tech enthusiasts around the world who have embraced the YotaPhone philosophy,” said Martynov.
Joining Jumbo’s portfolio of world class brands
YotaPhone will be made available to customers in the GCC region through the Jumbo network of retail stores as well as through Jumbo’s distribution partner network across the entire GCC region.
Jumbo Electronics CEO Vishesh L. Bhatia commented, “Jumbo is very proud of our capabilities to provide companies like Yota Devices with a fantastic retail network, servicing and distribution facilities for their products. It is excellent news to welcome Yota to our portfolio of world-class brands that we already sell and distribute in the UAE and across the GCC market. I am confident that our customers will be delighted with the quality of their products.”
Yota Devices CEO Vladislav Martynov commented, “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with Jumbo that provides us with an excellent opportunity to provide our highly-innovative products to demanding and discerning Jumbo consumers across the region. We are confident that our YotaPhone and connectivity devices will meet the expectations of consumers and be successful in the market.”
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