While Google is actively trying to reduce Android fragmentation by imposing certain conditions to partner companies —including forcing them to use the latest Android OS versions on new devices in order to get access to Google apps and the Play Store — other companies are ready to help OEMs create their own Android forks. TechCrunch reports that Russian giant Yandex has now released its own Yandex.Kit to help OEMs fork Android to their hearts’ content.
Yandex is basically encouraging OEMs to offer users a Google-free Android experience by using its own services instead of the Google services mobile device users will get with Google-approved Android devices.
Yandex.Kit will include a variety of apps that primarily target the Russian market, although the company is ready to support other countries as well. For devices that will be launched in Russia, Yandex is ready to offer several software features including Yandex Search, Yandex.Mail, Yandex.Store, Yandex.Browser, a 3D home screen launcher based on Yandex.Shell and a dialer “which uses information from Yandex’s Business Directory to identify” phone numbers.
Devices that will be launched in other markets would only get the Yandex.Store app, the Yandex.Browser and the Yandex.Shell UI.
For what it’s worth, the Yandex.Store has over 100,000 apps for users to enjoy, with Yandex offering 10% rebates to Yandex.Store users that access it through the Yandex.Kit, and sharing some of its app revenue (70/30 split in favor of the developer) with the device maker as well.
The whole Yandex ecosystem comes free of charge for OEMs, the company says, just like Google’s apps for that matter, though there may be certain hidden terms of service OEMs will have to abide by that Yandex has not shared with the public. Huawei and Explay will demo Yandex-based devices at MWC 2014, with such devices launching in Russia in March.
More images showing what Yandex.Kit looks like on a mobile device follow below.