Underwhelming Demand for Russian iPhone Rival – Sales of Smartphone Struggles to Reach 1000


Russia’s homegrown answer to the iPhone, the AYYA T1 smartphone, is not getting off to a great start. With fewer than 1,000 units sold since its debut in October 2021, the device has been overshadowed by cheaper Chinese devices in the Russian market.

Produced by Smartecosystems, a part of the state conglomerate Rostec, the AYYA T1 is currently discounted at 50%, retailing for 13,420 rubles ($170) on Yandex, a Russian tech giant’s online store. The device itself looks like an iPhone, sporting rounded edges and a security mode that allows users to switch off its camera and microphone with a button.

But despite its good looks, it’s failing to capture the attention of Russian consumers due to its steep price. Smartecosystems didn’t comment on the poor sales or when more units of the device are expected to hit the market, but it is known that 2,000 of the AYYA T1 phones have been issued to Russian law enforcement and nuclear power agency staff.

As such, the Russian smartphone market has been taken over by Chinese brands, such as Xiaomi, which accounted for 35 percent of smartphone shipments into the country. These Chinese brands are now dominating the market, especially after Apple and Samsung both suspended sales in Russia due to tensions between the countries in the wake of the Ukrainian invasion in 2022.

Smartecosystems is a technology company founded in 2020 and headquartered in Russia. The company’s aim is to develop and produce innovative, secure and cost-effective products and services to meet the needs of the Russian market and beyond. Smartecosystems have been part of the Rostec group, a state-owned corporation, since 2023.

Vladimir Gutenev is the CEO of the company. Gutenev has been in the technology business for more than 20 years and previously held the position of CEO of Kompresnik, a battery component which is part of the Russian State Scientific and Industrial Corporation. In his role as CEO of Smartecosystems, Gutenev is overseeing the production and launch of the company’s flagship product, the AYYA T1 smartphone, which is aimed at replacing the iPhone.