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Russia To Launch Its Own iPhone (Maybe With Two Screens!)

Not content with setting up its own national search engine, or launching its own Siliconski Valley, Russia is supposedly going to launch a new smart phone next year.

According to Voice of Russia, it "will not be a screw-driver affair." By the looks of the prototype, though, I'm not so sure. Nor it seems was President Medvedev who seemed pretty confused -- surprised even -- about what to make of it. (Watch the video above.)

(The following translation, from "The Russia Monitor," is of the exchange in the video between Medvedev and Sergei Chemezov, a Putin-fave, ex-KGB-er, and head of the state-run Russian Technologies. )

Medvedev: “I can’t even tell where to press.”
Chemezov: “It is still a prototype.”
Medvedev: “But this is entirely our product, which will be produced in our factories?”
Chemezov: “For now, unfortunately, we will only be able to make it in Taiwan: But soon we will completely switch over to production in Russia.”

Few more details about the phone from Voice Of Russia:

The pilot batch of the phones is already being tested. It will operate in the 4G network, for a while with a foreign-made operational system. For a while, because Russian designers are completing of the system that will be manufactured domestically. The head of the state corporation “Rostekhnologhii” Sergei Chemezov has demonstrated the prototype of the new phone to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently.

The strange thing is the two screens, or what looks like one screen, and then one bit of plastic with a sticker supposed to resemble a screen. In the video, Chemezov definitely says that the phone has two screens, although there's skepticism in the Russian blogosphere as to whether that's true, or whether it actually has two video cameras. You would hope Chemezov would know. (The blogosphere is having a lot of fun with this: Here's one representation of the first generation, as this is supposedly the second; and then there's this mashup.)

From the prototype, Medvedev's bemusement seems understandable. And my question is how exactly does that curved design fit into a pants pocket?

"The Russia Monitor" is pretty skeptical of the whole thing:

At least, I would not expect iPhone-like lines waiting for the first models, though [the pro-Kremlin youth group]Nashi may be able to whip something together.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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