It’s a common trend for manufacturers to increase the price of their latest flagship a little higher than the older model. And the price is somewhat justified too, as the newer model comes with a lot of new goodies, software tweaks and other features.
But even when the top end models are selling for more than $600, ARM predicts that the price of the low end smartphone is going to fall further. ARM believes that a smartphone can be built for as low as $20 and such low cost Android phone will soon hit the market in the next few months.
The recently showed off $25 Firefox phone is probably the cheapest smartphone and with a few changes in the specs and an open source operating system like Android, ARM believes that a smartphone can be built for as low as $20.
The proposed $25 Firefox phone is a pretty decent low end device and will most likely run on an older processor. But it comes with connectivity options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Edge networks which gives it the tagline of a smartphone.
A $20 phone could use a similar configuration but the processor will most likely be a single core Cortex A5 chip. Naturally, 3G and LTE would be off limits, but users could still make use of the internet using an EDGE network. As one can see, given the price point, the specification won’t be great. And the Android OS running on the device, may not be that smooth too. However, a smooth customer experience is not something that a manufacturer is looking to provide in a $20 phone. Instead, the main purpose of the phone is to make features like internet, social media accessible to users at a very low cost.
Most of the users in the emerging markets just use their phones to make and receive calls. The next best thing that they do with their phones is message contacts. But other than that, the phone is of no use. Internet is hardly found on sub $25 phones and hence, it’s not even possible to run interesting apps on these devices.
But a $20 Smartphone could change things for these consumers. It would open up new possibilities for the users, giving them access to apps, internet and even social media. So, even if Android lags a little, these phones could open up new opportunities for emerging markets which were previously off limits.
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