Jumbo Electronics, a leading IT, telecom and consumer electronics retailer and distributor in the UAE, and Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce marketplace, have launched the world’s first dual-screen smartphone – YotaPhone – in the subcontinent.
After being named as the exclusive distributor of Yota Devices in the Middle East earlier this year, Jumbo has successfully expanded the partnership to include new markets such as India.
The “always-on” premium Android smartphone, with a liquid crystal display on one side and an electronic paper display on the other, will go on sale on 17 October, 2014 on Flipkart, at a retail price of Rs 23,499. The phone costs was launched for around Rs 35,000 in markets like Dubai six months ago.
YotaPhone is an entirely new concept in mobile communications, designed to solve users’ frustrations with their current smartphones’ “always-dark” screen. It has been developed by Yota Devices, a private international company dedicated to developing and producing high-tech consumer LTE devices such as smartphones, modems and routers.
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 was developed based on findings that the typical smartphone user activates their smartphone more than 150 times a day, to check for messages or information they need or want that may be hidden behind their phone’s black screen. 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.
“YotaPhone features an electronic paper display that would work as a second screen, making it possible to deliver an array of new and improved user experiences,” explains Abdul Karim Sawan, Vice President for Yota Devices – Middle East and India. “It 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.”
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 companies said.
Yota is a Russia based company that started out in the Wimax ecosystem, and later moved its broadband network to LTE.
The Yota Alliance team is talking to partners globally and in the region to bring additional relevant content to the second screen. In India, they are in co-development phase with local content owners, particularly in the areas of special interests, as well as local operators.
Since its unveiling early last year, YotaPhone has received numerous awards and accolades, including Best of CES 2013 by CNET, PC Mag and Time magazine.
The device also won the Innovation Lion award in July 2013 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for delivering a more emotional and real experience for smartphone users.
YotaPhone presents text messages from your friends and loved ones using context sensitive database, for example an 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.
“Our flagship device, the YotaPhone, stemmed out of a curiosity to add another layer to the smartphone experience. The concept has been well-received the world over, and we look forward to giving consumers in India a taste of innovation that is at the core of our philosophy,” adds Sawan.
As the exclusive regional distributor of Yota Devices, Jumbo has tied up with Flipkart to make the YotaPhone available to consumers in India.
“Our partnership with Flipkart on behalf of Yota Devices marks a new milestone for Jumbo, as we go beyond the Middle East and offer our capabilities as a trusted distributor to a high potential market such as India. YotaPhone has proved to be a huge success in the Middle East region, and we expect Indian consumers to see great value in the device. Official figures show that online retail shopping is growing at 15% annually, with Flipkart being the largest and most visited e-commerce marketplace in India. We believe Flipkart will be a great platform to launch the YotaPhone, and reach a strong consumer base in the most efficient manner,” says Ajay Pathak, Head-Mobility & Solutions at Jumbo Electronics.
“We are delighted to be working with Flipkart in India. We have high expectations from the Indian Market and we are certain that by partnering with Flipkart we can achieve the best results. Yotaphone delivers a unique and unmatched user experience and we are confident that it will meet the Indian consumers’ expectations,” adds Sawan.
Commenting on the exclusive launch, Michael Adnani, VP – Retail & Head – Brand Alliances, Flipkart said, “Flipkart has established itself as a go-to destination for leading global and domestic brands who want to engage with a wide range of customers in India. Yet again, we bring an exclusive partnership with an innovative and one of its kind smartphone for the Indian audience. This is in continuation of our commitment to bring world-class products to our customers backed by our superior service.”