Yota Devices, the Russian company that has nerds like me excited with its combo e-ink/LCD display smartphone designs, today announced at MWC that it has entered into a software licensing agreement with Qualcomm to help it bring LTE-capable smartphones, modems and routers to market. Yota becomes the first Qualcomm software licensee in Russia with the deal, and for Qualcomm, it means securing a partner in a key target area in terms of future mobile market growth.
“Russia is strategically important to us as we expect strong growth in the number of 3G smartphones over the next two years,” Qualcomme Europe President and Senior VP of QTI Enrico Salvatori is quoted as saying in a release announcing the news. As a hardware company, Yota Devices already has a lot of expertise under its belt from building modems and routers, including its own self-branded designs starting in 2010. The arrangement with Qualcomm will help them work directly with QTI at every stage of the design process of new devices, which will help the Russian firm better compete on a global scale with established OEM handset and mobile device manufacturers.
Yota announced earlier this month that it will begin mass producing its innovative e-ink phone in Signapore, with commercial launch planned first for Russia by the second half of this year, and then expanding to Asian markets. The YotaPhone features an e-ink display on the back of the handset, which can show relatively static and notifications info while sipping power, allowing a user to only turn on the more power-hungry LCD screen on the front when they need to view video, for instance, or browse the web. The YotaPhone is powered by a 28nm Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor.
With Qualcomm’s backing, Yota improves its chances of becoming a global contender in the smartphone market. The firm has made waves with its first smartphone design, but now it has to ship the device before we get a better idea of just how much demand there is out there for a dual-splay handset.