This morning Yandex made two significant announcements: a new Chromium-based web browser and an alternative app store for Android handsets, called Yandex Store. The browser supports both Mac and Windows.
In addition to Chromium, which is the source code for the Google Chrome browser, the new Yandex browser uses WebKit and incorporates Opera’s Turbo technology, which helps boost page download speeds on slow connections.
The Yandex (app) Store is available to developers immediately and will launch to consumers at the end of the month. Yandex said that it has “40,000 apps under the belt on the release day,” through its Opera relationship. The revenue split with developers is the industry standard 70-30.
Yandex also announced agreements with several Russian carriers to pre-install the Yandex Store on their Android handsets. It’s also offering the app store on a white-label basis, which appears to be the company’s primary distribution strategy.
Here’s how Yandex describes the new app store in its expanding product vision:
Yandex.Store is yet another building block in Yandex’s mobile ecosystem. The company can now offer an alternative package of mobile solutions to any Original Equipment Manufacturer around the world who would like to build their own Android-based smartphone or tablet. Yandex’s mobile ecosystem now has all key components to provide OEMs with an opportunity to customize their devices: 3D user interface Yandex.Shell, a bunch of out-of-the-box mobile apps, including Yandex.Search, Yandex.Mail, Yandex.Maps-based services, and, finally, Yandex.Store with a wide range of applications from Android developer community.
The Yandex alternative Android app store represents another point of fragmentation of Android app distribution, although all apps built for Android devices should be compatible with the Yandex Store.
Yandex operates the most popular Russian search engine. It also has a successful presence in markets throughout Eastern Europe and Turkey. The company went public in early 2011, raising $1.3 billion. Yandex has also invested in US-based alternative search engine Blekko.