Monday, July 15, 2024
Smart Phones

Russia’s iPhone challenger is a flop as only 905 units have been sold to consumers

There have been so many iPhone killers over the years. Off the top of my head, devices that were given the name include the LG Voyager, Samsung Instinct, BlackBerry Storm, and the Palm Pre. Note that the first two names on this admittedly short list were not smartphones. Also note that all of these phones are no longer around while the iPhone is not only still here, it continues to dominate.
About a year ago, to protest the war in Ukraine, Apple stopped selling the iPhone in Russia. Kremlin officials have been told to stop using the iPhone in the country by April 1st because of espionage concerns. Holy Huawei Batman! This sure sounds familiar. But those Russians worried about not being able to purchase the newest iPhone model were told by their government not to fear. A subsidiary of a defense industry conglomerate in Russia called Rostec developed what it called a replacement for the iPhone called the AYYA T1.

Only 18% of the AYYA T1 units produced were sold to consumers

So how has that worked out? Not so good it appears as the Vedomosti Russian language business daily wrote that less than 1,000 AYYA T1 units have been purchased by Russian consumers since the device went on sale in October 2021. The actual number of phones sold, according to the report, is 905. That is just 18% of the 5,000 units produced and is the biggest smartphone flop since Amazon had to write off $170 million due to abysmal sales of the Fire Phone.

Denis Kuskov, CEO of the Telecom Daily research firm, called the 905 AYYA T1 units sold a “statistical error” compared to the 24.5 million smartphones sold last year in Russia. The putrid sales figure forced Russian retailers carrying the phone to reduce the price to 11,000 rubles ($140) which is breakeven. Of course, explaining the price cut required the phone’s developer, Smartecosystem, to use Propaganda 101. The company said that it dropped the price as a “special promotion” and was due to the company’s “desire to grant a wide range of users access to secure technology.”

The retail version of the phone runs on Android 11 while the corporate variant has Russia’s Aurora operating system installed. There are 2,000 of the enterprise units in use by Russian law enforcement agents and employees of the country’s nuclear power agency.

The phone is powered by a 12nm MediaTek Helio P70 SoC

Retailers defended the poor sales of the AYYA T1 by saying that most units were given out to employees of the state leaving very few units available for consumers to buy. The phone sports a 6.5-inch LCD display with a 60Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 720 x 1600. It is powered by the MediaTek Helio P70 SoC built using TSMC’s 12nm process node. The device is equipped with 4GB of RAM and the camera array on the back includes 12MP and 5MP cameras. A front-facing 13MP selfie camera is in front.

Keeping the lights on is a 4000mAh battery with a USB-C charging port. There is no 5G connectivity, but there is a microSD slot with a capacity of 128GB. A cursory look at the specs indicates why the phone has not been a big seller in the country and while Apple has stopped iPhone sales for more than a year, those who already own an iPhone can still use it.
Apple did limit the Maps app so that citizens fleeing the country can’t be tracked by the live traffic feature.

Apple Pay functionality has been sharply reduced but the App Store remains open so that Russians can continue to spend their rubles on paid apps. It isn’t known when Apple will reopen sales of the iPhone, iPad and Macs in the country but we would imagine that it won’t happen unless Russia ends the war or reaches some peace agreement with Ukraine.


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