Putin presents Chinese leader Xi Jinping with YotaPhone, Xi cracks a smile

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From one of the world’s most powerful leaders to another, a YotaPhone handset.

Trumpeting homegrown technology, Russian president Vladimir Putin presented his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, with a Yotaphone 2 when they met in Beijing this week at the start of the APEC summit.

Judging by the smile that cracked across the face of the usually rather stern-looking Chinese leader, it was possibly the first time he’d ever seen a smartphone with a display front and back. Or he was just overjoyed at getting a gift from Putin.

Sporting a regular LCD color display on the front, and an E-ink display on the back, the original YotaPhone made a bit of a splash when it was first unveiled in late 2012. While its somewhat limp specifications let it down, a much improved update was introduced by Moscow-based Yota Devices earlier this year, revealing the kind of device Xi might actually want to use (especially if battery life is important to him and he’s big on text-heavy sites).

Xi’s new YotaPhone sports a 5-inch color touchscreen and a 4.7-inch E-ink display, together with a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front facer should Xi feel the urge to grab a few selfies with other world leaders at this week’s summit.

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However, as pointed out by the Wall Street Journal, China’s head of state may decide to proceed cautiously when it comes to the matter of firing up his new phone. Besides the fact that many of his citizens would of course prefer to see him with a Chinese-made smartphone in his hand, Xi may also be wary of the fact that Russia’s state-run defense company this year took a 25 percent stake in Yota Devices. China is, after all, known to be sensitive when it comes to technology from outside the country – in July, for example, the nation’s state-run TV network broadcast a report in which it declared the location tracking feature on Apple’s iPhone to be “a national security concern,” though the Cupertino company dismissed the claim.

Putin is of course not the only world leader to hand out tech at high profile gatherings. Back in 2009, President Obama famously presented the Queen with an iPod on a trip to the UK. According to reports, the device was loaded up with media showing her state visits to the US in 1957 and 2007, as well as 40 famous show tunes, giving Her Maj something to rock out to during her downtime.

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