Russian mobile broadband provider and smartphone manufacturer Yota has finally revealed the U.S. pricing and preorder details for the second version of its smartphone, the YotaPhone 2, six months after its European launch.
While we already knew that Yota was taking to Indiegogo to launch its follow-up flagship phone Stateside, we didn’t know how much it would cost and when it might be made available. According to the Indiegogo campaign page, Yota is seeking $50,000 throughout a 60-day campaign, and the funds will be used to cover the costs of the various regulatory fees and certifications in the U.S.
Given the two-month duration of the Indiegogo campaign, the YotaPhone 2 won’t be shipping to backers until August.
Available in black or white, the YotaPhone 2 has a special $500 price available to the first 100 backers (already exhausted, as of this morning). After that, you can preorder at $525 for 48 hours, and then it will rise to $550 for the remainder of the campaign. The full manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $600.
The rise of Yota
While Yota cemented its reputation in the Russian market as a mobile broadband provider, it first started making consumer hardware in 2011, kicking off with modems and routers. But in late 2012, the company revealed its plans to enter the smartphone realm with the YotaPhone, which was an Android phone like many others, with one major exception.
Officially labelled a “proof-of-concept” device, the YotaPhone sported a dual-screen display, with an LCD on the front and a Kindle-style e-ink display on the back. So, you could browse the Internet in all its full graphical glory on one side, and then read boring old text on the other. One of the main motivating factors for this format was battery life — by splitting tasks between two screens it helps conserve juice. Why read a book or Facebook alert on a full-color HD screen when e-ink will suffice? The display is “always on” too, which gives easy access to messages and notifications.
With the YotaPhone 2, Yota took its learnings from the first incarnation and offers a redesigned device with new software, higher-resolution displays, and more.
The YotaPhone 2 is currently available in 20 markets across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, but North America could hold the key to its growth. It’s also worth noting here that the Indiegogo campaign isn’t restricted to North America — anyone anywhere in the world can preorder the device, effectively opening sales to all countries.
While platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have traditionally been used by up-and-coming startups and inventors looking to bypass venture capital or bank loans, they have increasingly been used by bigger companies too. Crowdfunding effectively reduces a company’s financial risk and helps establish a demand before the product goes to market.