Russian company Yota Devices began selling a line of dual screen smartphones in 2013. The original YotaPhone featured a color display one one side and an E Ink screen on the other. A few years later the company introduced the YotaPhone 2 which expanded on the idea with a sleek new design and better specs.

And then things got messy. Yota Devices scrapped plans to bring the Yotaphone 2 to the United States. A Hong-Kong based company acquired most of the company, a Yota 3 phone was eventually released, but it was available exclusively in China, and it looks like the latest development could be the last.

According to the Cayman Islands Gazette (PDF), Yota has declared bankruptcy and the company’s asset will be liquidated.

Russian website iGuides provides a bit more context for what happened.

Basically, the company that supplied displays for the first two YotaPhone models filed a lawsuit alleging that Yota Devices failed to meet its minimum order after cancelling its planned expansion to the United States market.

Yota appears to have paid $17 million to Hi-p Electronics as a result of that lawsuit, but when Hi-p filed another claim for $1 million, Yota was unable to pay. Thus the company is declaring bankruptcy.

Creditors who want to try to make a claim to some of the company’s assets will be able to participate in a conference call on May 8th (PDF) ahead of the liquidation.

via GizmoChina

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9 replies on “Dual screen smartphone maker Yota Devices is bankrupt”

  1. Remember when Putin was showing off with the phone when met Chinese. Russians crave for power (need to show off big **** because feeling inferior otherwise) do not really know how to make money and run sustainable businesses. And to be honest, it’s nearly impossible to do that in the climate that Russia offers. They know how to exploit earth resources (state run enterprises), crown jewels like utilities or necessities companies (oligarchs) and good also at exploit others countries, other companies or even their own fellow law abiding and honest Russian citizens. So no surprise here. When the ***head Putin and Medvedev boasted about Russian phonemaker Yota Devices will soon take over the world and show Apple and Google and Samsung and all that Russian **** is the biggest and the best, I laughed because I know the party will soon be over. Marketing products to well developed and competitive markets is not easy and even more difficult in consumer market the US where people do not have as much attachment to non-Chinese product brands things as one would have expected (hint: ballooning trade deficit). North American buyer is about convenience. Actually this is not easy to do (see IKEA’s failure with their stupid idea of a TV integrated to furniture). Unless company is in a protected monopoly, any technology business (and that goes also for selling to corporate) needs to start from the most basic idea of zero effort, maximum comfort, familiarity, absolute reliability and most importantly the benefit has to be attainable quickly and benefit must be easy to see instantly for even for a 5-year old. Companies that crack this have a better chance to survive. Design and aesthetics are very important but only as 2nd criteria. Yotahone was beautiful but got it all wrong. The phone was actually not easy to use for a non-geek. They designed operating system for the 2nd display but nobody wanted to design apps (they haven’t learned from Windows). The only truly useful idea was to use the 2nd display as a fully functional display or to mirror content on the 1st display. Although eInk wasn’t going to display things well but it was useable benefit. So what was supposed to be the main selling point of the phone was not really available and you ended up with a nice gadget. Other than reading books (which is good if you read books.. that’s about 5% of the population). They started early, got the hardware right but were not thinking how an average joe is going to use it. Geeks fail as marketers. Yotaphone was made by geeks who are skilled with tools but have no clue how to deal with people. Yota was Putin’s big **** to show and now everybody knows how small he is.

  2. Yota 1 was a dud, no mirroring IIRC. Yota2 was amazing. From what I’ve read, Yota3 made it harder to mirror, not impossible, but harder. Trying to get 3rd parties to support your proprietary eink widget platform is insane. Mirroring means you can use any app, whether it knows there’s an eink screen or not.

    I would have loved a yota3 (reliable sd625) that was even more intuitive and easy to use/mirror than the yota2. Not really to use as a phone, but as an ereader and/or brains/screen for a DIY smart typewriter. Still sad to see them go. They were trying to do something different when way too many were just copying.

  3. Yota, we hardly knew you. That probably had something to do with you going bankrupt.

  4. Too bad, I was always interested. It was just a matter of availability and price. Now it’s unlikely a similar product will make it to market any time soon.

  5. That’s unfortunate. I was hoping to find these locally in the US at some point.

  6. Add another one to the long list of Android OEMs who either went bankrupt or barely make any money.

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