We’ve been following Russia’s YotaPhone since 2012, but it seems like the saga of the power-sipping E Ink-backed dual-screen handset has come to an end. Yota Devices is bankrupt, reports Cnews.ru and Liliputing, pointing to a liquidation notice published in the Cayman Islands Gazette (PDF).
According to Russian media reports, it was a lawsuit that eventually wound up bankrupting the company. Yota’s manufacturer for the first two YotaPhones, Hi-P Singapore, sued for $126 million back in 2015 because YotaPhone reportedly refused to take delivery (and presumably pay for) the minimum number of phones it agreed to order. (In 2016, The Financial Times reported that the first two YotaPhones only sold around 75,000 units.) Hi-P had agreed to take $17 million instead, but apparently that deal fell through.
Truth be told, the YotaPhone hasn’t exactly been all that relevant to the west — or even Russia — in recent years. The company failed to ship the YotaPhone 2 to the United States in 2015 despite blowing past its Indiegogo crowdfunding goal, and by late 2016 it decided to pull out of the UK and Russia as well, shifting its operations to China instead.
With Chinese factories and Chinese investment, Yota apparently only ever wound up selling the latest YotaPhone 3 in China, despite promises it would appear in “Russia and other markets” as well. The YotaPhone 3 did win an iF Design Award in 2018, though.
Now, we’ll probably never see another YotaPhone. But if you’re interested in a multi-screen handset, a new wave of foldable devices might fill that hole in your heart.
By Sean Hollister