Jolla signs up Russian search giant Yandex to provide Android apps for its smartphone

Jolla Sailfish OS Android

In September, Jolla announced its forthcoming, Sailfish OS-powered smartphone would run Android apps. It was welcome news, as the hardest part of getting any new mobile OS off the ground is ensuring it has a thriving app store, and this would take the pressure off Jolla and its developers. However, as Jolla’s phone doesn’t run Android, it’s impossible to use the Play store due to Google’s restrictions, leaving it with no choice but to approach one of the third-party app stores instead.

The company has now announced its Android app partner, and it’s Yandex. If the name isn’t familiar to you, it would be if you lived in Russia, where it’s the most widely used search engine. Its 62 percent market share eclipses Google’s 26 percent, and earlier this year, it beat Bing to take fourth place in the global search engine rankings.

Yandex launched its Android app store at the end of February, when it contained around 50,000 apps, a figure which Jolla says has now grown to 85,000. Yandex is no stranger to signing this type of deal. For example, it has an agreement with the MegaFon network in Russia, where the store comes pre-loaded on new smartphones, sometimes under a rebranded name.

Stepping out and getting itself installed on a more widely available smartphone should help Yandex’s international presence, where it’s hardly known at all.If you’re interested in seeing what the Yandex app store is like, you can download and try it out on your Android phone right now.

Jolla has also announced it will be installing Nokia’s Here Maps on its smartphones, which isn’t much of a surprise, given Jolla’s ties with the Finnish company. Mozilla’s Firefox OS, another newcomer to the mobile world, also comes with Here Maps pre-loaded, while many will be familiar with it thanks to Nokia’s Windows Phone hardware.

As for the Jolla smartphone, there’s still no word on when it will launch, although it was promised before the end of the year. Today’s partnership announcement could be a signal Jolla is gearing up to put the phone on sale.

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