The new model of the Russian smartphone YotaPhone 3 will not enter the market in the near future: the Chinese participants of the project did not allocate the necessary funding. It seems that China Baoli Technologies has lost interest in the joint project, which promised to compete with Apple products. It was expected that the third version of YotaPhone will appear on the shelves as early as the summer of 2016. Later, they spoke about 2017. However, it seems that the third Yota is chronically ill lucky with the budget. Major shareholders, China Baoli Technologies, which owns a 30% stake in the project, still hasn't found the funds to launch the product.
Another 25.1% of shares are controlled by Rostec. The head of the corporation Sergey Chemezov confirms: nothing concrete about the date of presentation of YotaPhone 3 at the moment can be said. And in order to start production, the Chinese partners will have to "be persuaded". The so-called "launch window" was missed, another source close to the company admitted in the fall. Now, because of the hitching with financing, the smartphone will actually have to be altered.
"There is no point in releasing it with the specifications that were made. Phones have the trait of becoming obsolete within three to four months," the expert says.
It seems that the Chinese party generally lost interest in the project. This Sergey Chemezov explains by not very high sales of the previous model, Yota Phone 2.
"It takes a lot of money. But today, unfortunately, the Chinese are not very active," says the head of Rostec.
At the end of 2015, 96,000 Yota Phones were sold. Yota Devices managed to realize about 20 thousand smartphones of the first generation and 55 thousand YotaPhone 2 smartphones. Another 21 thousand were sold by the Chinese manufacturer Jiliean. In the first nine months of 2015, Yota Devices lost $30.7 million, while revenues accounted for 15.8 million.
The current Chinese partners in the project for the production of Russian smartphones appeared in the spring of 2016, when Rex Global, later renamed China Baoli Technologies, bought a third of Yota Devices from the Telconet fund for $46 million. Telconet retained 34.9% of the shares, 25.1% had Rostec, 10% of the shares belong (through the company MTH) to the company's management. Target markets for YotaPhone are China and Russia; and it was expected that new generations of smartphones would be produced on the basis of the Chinese company ZTE. It was also expected that by 2018, the world market will have "the Russian iPhone", comparable in characteristics with the Apple device, but much cheaper. Unfortunately, the constant shifts in the timing of the release of the new model make it doubtful that YotaPhone 3 will leave the assembly line at all.
What could be YotaPhone 3
The developers promised that the new smartphone, like iPhone, would be available in two versions. One with a standard screen, the other with a larger screen (YotaPhone 3 Plus). And if iPhone 7 has a front screen of 4.7 inches, then the standard YotaPhone should have 5 inches; iPhone 7 Plus has 5.5 inches, the "big" YotaPhone has 5.7. The second screen, with electronic ink, was to have dimensions of 4.7 or 5.5 inches. At the same time, the cost of a Russian smartphone for an end user would be 2-3 times lower than that of an iPhone: 350-400 dollars for a "small" phone, 450-500 for a large one.
YotaPhone 3 also promised to make "hardware" more advanced:
"A significantly longer battery life, one of the best camera solutions on the market and a complete set of interfaces for communication." At the same time, the developers decided to focus on the "business user", that is, the person who needs to constantly monitor different information flows, work with a multi-screen interface, applications "to manage their working day, trips, tasks and events and many other aspects of their lives".
The company Yota Devices IPR Ltd, which produces smartphones under the brand YotaPhone, is registered in the British Virgin Islands. In Russia, only the rights to a phone case are registered. Patents for the technology used in YotaPhone are also owned by Yota Devices.