Russian iPhone Alternative Sold Fewer Than 1,000 Units in First Year

  • Russia’s AYYA T1 smartphone has sold just 905 units since its October 2021 launch, per Vedomosti.
  • The smartphone was touted as a homegrown alternative to Apple’s iPhone.
  • Russia’s smartphone market is dominated by Chinese brands, with Xiaomi in the lead, per Statista.

Russia’s answer to Apple’s iPhone isn’t getting much love at home.

The AYYA T1 smartphone — touted as a homegrown alternative to the iPhone — hasn’t been very popular. Just 905 units have been sold since it hit the market in October 2021, the Vedomosti business daily reported on March 23, citing unnamed sources close to retailers.

That’s about 18% of the 5,000 AYYA T1 smartphones produced for the Russian market so far, per Vedomosti.

Produced by Smartecosystems, a part of state conglomerate Rostec, the China-assembled AYYA T1 is discounted at 50% and currently retails at around 13,420 rubles, or $170, on the online store of Yandex, a Russian tech giant. Russian officials touted the AYYA T1 as a potential alternative to Apple’s iPhone, the Moscow Times reported on March 23.

In looks, the AYYA T1 resembles an iPhone. It has rounded edges and comes with a “special security mode” that allows the users to switch off its camera and microphone with a button on the side of the device, according to its product webpage.

Even though fewer than 1,000 AYYA T1 phones have been sold to consumers, about 2,000 Russian law enforcement and nuclear power agency staff have been issued with the phone, per the Moscow Times, citing Vedomosti. This means there weren’t that many on the market for ordinary consumers anyway, some retailers told the Russian business news outlet. 

The news of poor sales for the AYYA T1 phone came days after the Kremlin advised Russian officials to stop using the Apple iPhone due to information security concerns.

Apple also halted all sales in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine last year — although Russia could still buy the US tech giant’s products via parallel imports. South Korean smartphone giant Samsung also suspended shipments into the country amid sweeping sanctions against Russia over the war.

The Russian smartphone market — where 24.5 million smartphones were sold in 2022 — is now dominated by Chinese brands, with Xiaomi in the top spot, according to data provider Statista. The Chinese tech company accounted for 35% of smartphone shipments into Russia from January to September 2022. Samsung is a far second, with 15% of shipments into Russia.

Smartecosystems did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours.

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