Whenever we talk of Android, you instantly think of Google, or at least you would here in the West. In Russia, however, Android means a different thing and there's little standing in Yandex's way of dominating the Android market in Eastern Europe. They're often considered the "Google of Russia" and with their latest two announcements, they've taken a couple more steps to fit that moniker. With the release of Yandex.Store and Yandex.Shell – a 3D UI to run on top of Android – the Russian search giant is making a move to become even bigger than before. The company still makes a lot of its revenue on the Desktop but, as searches decline and people go mobile, they need to move with them. Just like Google, these services and moves will help them get their services into the hands of users.
The Yandex.Store is a 50,000-app strong store that can be accessed anywhere in the world but, Yandex are hoping that offering an app store for Russian speakers, or for users in any region they're big in – like Turkey, for example – that they can court low-end hardware manufacturers to adopt Android and Yandex as a whole platform, and sell like hotcakes. It's an admirable ambition, after all they need to offer manufacturers a reason to build for their platform and a strong app store like this, might just be that.
Not only are they launching an app store but, they're also launching an updated version of their own UI as well, the Yandex.Shell is a 3D UI that will sit on top of Android has been available since this time last year but, they've added some enhancements and are releasing an updated version. With the Yandex.Store and the Yandex.Shell the Russian giant has a couple good incentives for low-end, budget manufacturers to build around Yandex's wares and they already have a lot of support. With the following manufacturers signing up to put Yandex.Store and services on their devices: 3Q, Explay, Oppo, PocketBook, Qumo, teXet, Wexler and other more regional makers in or around Russia.
The Yandex.Store will offer a 70/30 split on revenue from paid apps, with the lion's share heading to developers, each app is scanned by a Kaspersky piece of software, delivering at least some sort of security measure to the platform. It's good to see someone else getting behind Android but, I don't think Yandex have it quite worked out, for instance this is what Alexander Zverev, head of Yandex.Store had to say about Android: "The global market for Android-based mobile phones is very fragmented,". And so, the answer must be another app store, right?
It's encouraging to see Android take root around the world, even if Google aren't at the heart of it, it'll all benefit us somehow down the line but, if Yandex hope to tackle fragmentation they need to do a much better job than this.