In the middle of summer in Russia, the first domestic smartphones may appear, working on a choice under Android or “Aurora”. The devices are designed for the corporate and public sector. But even state corporations, in the absence of a legislative obligation to buy Russian solutions, are more likely to choose Apple and Samsung smartphones, experts say.
One of the largest distributors of electronics in Russia, Marvel Distribution, is preparing the release of Russian smartphones under the F + pro brand for the corporate and public sector, the company told Kommersant. The devices have been developed by our own R&D department and will be manufactured in Russia. Among the partners “Marvel” points out GS Group (produces set-top boxes for the satellite operator “Tricolor” and other electronics).
At the request of the customer, the F + pro will be equipped with the domestic operating system (OS) Aurora (its developer belongs to Rostelecom) or the Android OS. At the first stage, smartphones will use mainly Chinese components and processors from Taiwanese MediaTec. “But in the coming years it is planned to localize production as much as possible,” Marvel assured. They expect to include the smartphone in the register of domestic products of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (state-owned companies and state customers must purchase devices mainly from this register). The first batch will be ready in mid-summer, but since the adaptation of the Aurora OS takes four to six months, shipments will begin in the fall, Marvel said. Customers are not disclosed there.
Now there are no phones in the register of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, but there are three tablets: two from Kraftway and one from Aquarius. Aquarius tablets are also used by Aurora and are planned to be used in the population census scheduled for the second half of the year.
Until now, attempts to create domestic smartphones have not been successful. The Taigafon project was developed by Natalya Kasperskaya’s Infowatch group, but it was abandoned in December 2019 “due to weak technical characteristics, lack of software and the need for large-scale investment in promotion.” The company recorded a loss of 40 million rubles. At the same time it became known that Kaspersky Lab began testing the applicability of KasperskyOS in smartphones (see Kommersant dated December 10, 2019). But the device was not announced.
Mobile Inform Group and Astra Linux promised to release smartphones for the public sector and business running Astra Linux in September 2019 (see Kommersant dated June 13, 2019). But they were never presented. According to Roman Mylitsyn, director of innovation at Astra Linux Group, the release of a smartphone is hindered by “a large number of purchased radio-electronic components, drivers for which are developed exclusively for Android OS.” “There are attempts to use Android drivers in Russian OS, but this does not solve the problem of import substitution,” the expert notes. “.
The problem in creating a domestic smartphone was that the manufacturers did not have enough competencies in the development of “hardware”, says Mobile Research Group analyst Eldar Murtazin. And the demand for such devices, he believes, will be small: “This segment is dominated by state corporations, and they will not be interested in such devices due to the specifications. If a legislative obligation is introduced to buy only them, this will stimulate production. ” But even in this case, the expert adds, government customers are unlikely to go beyond the pilots. Now, according to Eldar Murtazin, Apple and Samsung dominate the corporate sector.