Yandex Launcher

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Yandex Launcher
Yandex launcher.png
Initial releaseOctober 6, 2015
Stable release
1.7.2[1] / February 10, 2017
Operating systemAndroid 4.1+[2]
Available inMultiple languages
TypeOperating system shell

Yandex Launcher (Russian: Я́ндекс.Ло́нчер) is a free GUI for organizing the workspace on Android smartphones.[4][5]


According to The Next Web, one of the main distinguishing features of Yandex Launcher is the built-in recommendation service.[6] Machine learning technology provides the basis of the recommendation service,[7] with which Launcher selects apps, games, videos and other forms of content that might interest the user.[8][9] The key elements of Launcher are the content feed of personal recommendations by Yandex Zen, as well as a system of recommended apps; both elements are built into Launcher and analyze the user’s favorite websites and other aspects of their behavior with the aim of creating a unique model of the user’s preferences.[10][11][12]

Other features of Launcher are: themes for the interface,[6] wallpaper collections,[13] fast search of contacts, apps and sites,[13][4][14] search by app icon color,[4][15] "smart" folders and widgets,[13] built-in notifications on icons, screen manager, a visual editor grid for icons, etc.


In 2009, SPB Software published the SPB Mobile Shell application. The application won several accolades.[16]

In 2011, SPB Software was purchased by Yandex.[17] Through this, Yandex acquired the rights to the company’s products, including SPB Shell 3D (a paid application).[18]

After the purchase by Yandex, the shell has become "Yandex.Shell".[19] The company’s services were built into it, and it was distributed for free for users from Russia and other countries.[20]

In 2014, Yandex released a modified Android firmware, which was given the name Yandex.Kit.[21][22] The firmware was tightly integrated with Yandex services.[22] One of the standard apps supplied with the firmware was the launcher that was based on Yandex.Shell.[22] Yandex.Kit was preinstalled, in particular, on Huawei smartphones.[22]

On October 6, 2015, the Yandex Launcher GUI was released.[6][23] Despite the fact that the developers of Yandex.Shell and Yandex.Kit[24] took part in the creation of Launcher, these projects have little in common. Unlike Launcher, Kit was focused on enterprise applications and was not distributed through Google Play.[22] Shell had a different monetization scheme and different geographical distribution.[25][26]

On October 8, 2015, Google Play accidentally blocked Yandex Launcher. A few hours later Launcher was unblocked.[27]

After its launch, the app was available only to users from Latin America,[2][4][28] later it was unlocked for users from the EU, United States, Russia and other countries.[6] On December 14, 2015, the app was made available without geographical limitations.[2][29]

In October 2016, Yandex offered the pre-installation of their apps (including Yandex Launcher) to retailers and manufacturers of Android smartphones.[30][31] Participating in this program was MTS (Russia), Multilaser (Brazil), ZTE (China), Wileyfox (United Kingdom), Posh Mobile and others.[32]

At the start of 2016, the service’s foreign audience was three times bigger than the Russian audience.[33]


To generate personal recommendations, Yandex Launcher uses artificial intelligence technology.[24][34] The system analyzes which of the recommended apps the user has installed or ignored. Based on this information, the system predicts what apps users might be interested in at a later time.[7] The more a user interacts with Launcher, the more accurate the recommendations become.[35] Recommendations also depend on the user’s place of residence, their interests and other factors.[35][36]

Launcher is one of the “Discovery” products of Yandex.[37][38] Yandex Zen, which is part of Launcher, belongs to the same product category.[39]

Several design elements of Launcher are generated algorithmically. In particular, the color of app information cards are selected automatically based on the color scale of app icons.[40][41]

The user can select one of the three search engines to use within the Launcher (Yandex, Google or Bing).[42]


Monetization of Launcher is due to the built-in recommendation services. Native advertising is displayed inside the Yandex Zen content feed. Most recommendations in the app recommendation service are selected without taking into account the commercial component, but if a user installs one of the commercial recommendations, then the corresponding ad network pays a commissions to Yandex.[6][25]

According to data from Q2 2016, the experimental business activities of Yandex (which includes Yandex Launcher and Yandex Zen built into it, along with a number of other company products) brought in 153 million rubles in revenue.[43][44]


The head of the service is Fyodor Yezhov.[45][46][47] Prior to this, Yezhov worked at SPB Software and SPB TV.[33][48]

Earlier, the project was headed by Dmitry Polishchuk.[33][49]


Yandex Launcher has been criticized for the lack of options for fine-tuning the app. In particular, it is not possible to hide icon names.[6][50][51] Launcher has also been criticized for the small variety of wallpapers in the online collection.[13]


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  4. ^ a b c d "Подборка: главные приложения октября / Статьи / Вести.Hi-tech".
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