Report: Android’s Global Dominance Will Get Help From Significant Sales of Cheap Smartphones [Smart Cheapphones?]


We’ve long said that the key to Android’s long-term success would be choice. Keyboard or no keyboard? Big screen or small screen? Camera on the front of 4G? Do you want a fingerprint scanner? The ability to hook your phone up to your TV using an HDMI cable? Or even the ability to use your phone to power a web-based netbook? Choice is extremely important to a consumer at the point of sale.

And now DigiTimes is reporting that Android will see tremendous growth due to perhaps the most important choice of all when considering any purchase – price. Android phones can be had at all sorts of price points. Here in the US, you can get a cheap or free smartphone on a cheap plan that does a lot of what the fastest and biggest phones on the market do. And you don’t even have to be tethered to a contract to get a phone for under $200 at some carriers.

Then there’s the UK where you can get any phone for “free” at the point of sale. (Granted you’ll be subject to a pricey tariff.) The research firm reported that that 2.5 to 3 million sub-$150 (after subsidization) Android handsets were shipped in 2010. In 2011? That number will increase to 20-25 million and should make up for a pretty sizable slize of a very large pie – up to 15% of 165 million Android handsets expected to ship in 2011.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. What I don’t get is IF you are on contract, why not shell out an extra $50 every two years and get something a little nicer?

    1. Exactly. The difference of the total cost for 2 years is almost unnoticeable when you get a $50 phone and a $200 phone (on contracts.)

    2. Depends on if this includes the sales that these phones go on. I think amazon had the atrix for $50, and tmobile has done countless sales on their phones. Buy one get one free type things too.

      Also the different prices is just another choice android offers. Take a look at the iphone, you have two static price points.

  2. Non-tech people don’t look at it the way u guys do. They want something powerful and useful without breaking the bank. I think a lot of success that Android has does come from the fact that you can always find one that is 50 bucks or less(especially on T-mobile).

    1. to tell the truth most non tech people are followers or puppets they see a commercial and they are all over it or they just hop on the iphone

      1. I don’t think this is an accurate portrayal of non-techies……although I agree this is how many Techies and So-called Techies view non-techies.

        Non-techies will pay more (not that they want to) for a phone they perceive as safe, dependable e.g. It works consistently without a lot of effort and knowledge about techie things on their part. They perceive the iPhone that way although these updates to iOs are somewhat off-putting. Android works better for most because updates are OTA.

        After safety and dependability comes looks. Most just want a phone that they’re not afraid to pull out in public. HTC and Apple address this well.

        There is a certain percentage who are ALL about price over looks but its a small percentage. Just because a phone is inexpensive doesn’t mean it has to be ugly, does it ?

        And finally, but not the least important is “the plan” All iPhone plans are expensive…..because they’re on ATT or Verizon. And many of the top of the line Android phones are only on these two networks.

        As non-techies learn about less-expensive alternative plans to Verizon and ATT (like Virgin) where they can have dependable, inexpensive good looking (moderately anyway) smart-phones, I believe we’ll see a migration toward these kinds of solutions.

  3. Eventually, we’re going to see low end multicore phones. That should boost android phone sales even more.

    1. Yeah, that will be nice, but a dual core 500 Mhz phone would still probably cost almost as much as a single 1 Ghz phone. What I’d want to see though is Cortex A9 at 500-600 Mhz for the low end. I’m tired of seeing the same old 600 Mhz ARM11 in all low-end phones. A 500 Mhz Cortex A9 chip is probably twice as fast as that one.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly that the large market for people switching from normal handsets to smartphones favours Android. If you can get a handset for $0 with a contract and it does most of the basic things you need (phone, email, internet, texting, camera), why would you pay more? That’s what Grandma will be thinking.

  5. There’s already a 30 pound sim free Android phone in the UK.

    1. What? Where? Point me to it. I’m there 2morro.

      And here in UK we have £15-25 Android fones on contract(with data) is a great place to start.

      Seriously mikeyd. Where can I get that fone

      EDIT: I just popped over to T-Mo UK And Xperia X8 and Wildfire is 15/m. Two good low end Android fones.

    2. 30 freakin pounds? How are you supposed to even carry it around? Can you even call something like that “mobile”? It sounds like something AT&T would think up.

  6. Its not really “cheap” phone, its phones that have been out over a year.
    For e.g HTC Desire (original) is now free for 2year mobile contracts and its still a GOOD DECENT PHONE, that can do just about everything phones which have come out now or later on in the year. Smartphone’s turn-around is so quick that “cheap android smartphones” will be flagship devices that have been around for 12 months. No need in making cheaper versions I think.
    If I had a choice now between a HTC wildfire S or HTC Desire I’d still go with the desire even though its a year older than wildfire S which just came out.

  7. My guess is that these “cheap” smartphones (I’m thinking LG Optimus One for example) will mostly be a hit on the pre-paid carriers/brands that often don’t subsidize phones as much. When you think you can get some of these phones for about 200$ off contract, it makes 150$ dumbphones look bad.

    For most people coming from normal phones, the simple idea of getting an “iPhone” at 200$, even if it’s without a dataplan (they have WiFi at home) seems like a bargain. They don’t care it’s Android, all they’re thinking is “Cheap” and “So this is Angry Birds!”.

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