Russian startup Yota Devices is in the middle of developing the follow-up to its dual-screen YotaPhone 2, but has encountered directional resistance in the form of conflict in its ownership between Russian and Chinese firms, sources to Engadget report.
Vedomosti reported that Baoli Yota, a joint venture between Yota Devices stakeholder China Baoli and manufacturer Coolpad, introduced the Yota3 at an event in the northern Chinese city of Harbin for a fall release. Like its two predecessors, the device features a color AMOLED display on the front and an E Ink touchscreen at the back.
While memory configurations were confirmed at the event, most other specifications were revealed to Engadget through a spec sheet. Other alleged line items include USB-C for audio, a fingerprint sensor and dual SIM slots. It’s expected that the device will cost between $350 and $450. A source put a finer release timeline for October or November.
All of these developments have taken in place in the foreground while Yota Devices has been struggling to obtain Chinese equity in the company and capital for its YotaPhone 2 sequel. The company wanted to shift its target audience to the wider and more open Chinese market and, for a time, was able to recruit ZTE as a contract manufacturer for the YotaPhone 3.
Late in 2015, it tried selling a 64.9 percent stake to REX — now known as Baoli ― but the process dragged on through April 2016 and it only ended up giving a 30 percent share. Russia-based Telconet remains the largest investor at 34.9 percent, but Kremlin-backed Rostec was pushed down to 25.1 percent. UK manufacturer MTH Limited owns the remaining 10 percent.
Since the equity sale, Rostec has accused Baoli of withholding capital for work on what would become the Yota3. Word from Engadget is that the move was an intentional leverage that the firm wanted to chance to get the Russian actors out of the company. Former Yota Devices CEO Vladislav Martynov is allegedly laying suit in the UK against Baoli on this bid.
Martynov and his hand-picked replacement, then-COO Dmitri Moiseyev, seemed to have been moved out of power in YotaDevices, though it is not clear if Moiseyev is still with the company.