Nokia’s doing good business in Russia with its Windows Phones, but now it also has X-series Android phones to sell there. The first of these devices went on sale on Thursday, with Yandex supplying the app store and search functionality.
Yandex, which is sort of Russia’s answer to Google, introduced its Yandex.Store little over a year ago, providing an alternative to Google’s own Play Store that’s more tailored to the Russian and surrounding markets. It’s even pre-installed on Jolla’s Sailfish OS phone, which isn’t Android but can run Android apps.
Now it’s the pre-installed app store on the cheap and cheerful Nokia X in Russia and Belarus, alongside Yandex’s search service, which is significantly bigger than Google there. Indeed, Yandex Search has already been the default on Nokia’s Lumia 800 and 710 Windows Phone models in Russia since 2011.
According to a Yandex blog post, the company’s search and app store will also feature on the upcoming Nokia X+ and XL devices, which feature more RAM, and better screen and cameras respectively.
Nokia’s much-vaunted $7.2 billion sale of its handset division to Microsoft still hasn’t gone through; it awaits regulatory approval in China. What happens to Nokia’s still-surprising Android efforts after that is anyone’s guess, but it looks like Android may fast become an entrenched part of the manufacturer’s business – the Nokia X costs around $140, and cheap Android phones do very well in markets like Russia.