Earlier this week, a Russian internet company called Yandex released its very own app store for Android. Yandex.Store can be sideloaded on any Android device and currently houses around 50,000 applications. Yandex also updated Yandex.Shell, its custom Android homescreen replacement application. The Yandex.Shell can be downloaded region-free from the Yandex.Store. We were curious about what these apps had to offer, so we tried them both and placed our opinion in a video.
Even though everyone has open access to what Yandex is offering, the company’s real goal is to license its app store and user interface to manufacturers to put on their devices. Developers are also welcome to publish their applications to the Yandex.Store for distribution.
You’ll find some popular applications in the store such as Twitter, SoundHound, Foursquare and TuneIn Radio. The gaming selection appears to be quite thin on popular games. Naturally, a few different Angry Birds games are prominently displayed in the games category. Best of all, you don’t have to provide any payment information or even an email address to gain access. You only have to create a username and password. The store isn’t going to challenge the likes of Google Play, but it’s a start.
The Yandex.Shell interface performed very smoothly on my Nexus 7. It relies on 3D effects and fancy transitions, but it didn’t hinder the over experience. It comes loaded with Russian widgets that can be removed for your own collection. If you don’t care to dig too deeply into the settings, you’ll find navigation to be fairly easy.