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  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    Somewhere else I recently saw a version of the Gartner forcast that split the smartphone price range into 6(?) buckets instead of only 3 that was even more telling. It showed the top bucket (halo devices) staying about the same size or growing very slightly; but the two buckets below it actually shrinking as people who're willing to spend enough for a "good enough" phone are able to find satisfactory options at lower price levels. Reply
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    I think the problem isn't the hardware cost of a smart phone over a feature phone, it's the cost of the plan that you have to get with said smart phone. Looking at Verizon, lowest possible monthly bill goes from $35 with a feature phone to $55 with a smart phone. That's a jump my dad would have no interest in making, even if the phone only cost $20. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    I doubt these $20 smartphones will make it to North America or most of Europe. Think more pan-Asia or Africa, where costs are more pay-as-you-go rather than contracts and overall incomes are lower. Reply
  • ShieTar - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    I wouldn't say that. Poverty is growing fast in both Regions, median household incomes are constant or even decreasing in many regions since almost 30 years now, despite a aggregated GDP per capita growth of 50% to 100% over the same time.

    In the combined markets of NA and EU, with its 1.25 billion people, there should be at least 250 million people who consider 20$ to be a significant amount of money. And I don't know whats happening in the US, but in Germany politicians are working hard to increase this number.
    Reply
  • Murloc - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    20$ is 3 pizzas in Italy in a take-away place with seats, drinks not included. It is not a significant amount of money and people are worse off than in Germany.

    These phones will just replace the cheap non-smartphones.
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    Even if incomes remain constant, inflation makes the dollar stretch. Reply
  • icrf - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    I was thinking more of the general trend that "eventually, all phones are smartphones" which would have to apply to the developed world, too. Reply
  • f700es - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    Why not? My 14 year old child was going on a D.C. class trip and I went and bought him a $30 Virgin Mobile smartphone from BestBuy to take with him. Was it an iPhone? No way but the Kyocera Event was all he needed. He could make calls, e-mail, text, use wifi and even had a GPS. Better to replace a $30 phone if he lost or broke it than to replace an expensive model. Reply
  • Murloc - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    there's a certain amount of people who have the cheapest phones and are on pre-paid plans, mainly old people and the very poor.
    Those phones will get replaced too by these cheap smartphones at some point. There is a market, so I don't doubt that cheaper phones will come to Europe, although not at $20 because they can ask higher prices here, I've never seen $20 phones of any kind. I bet they make those prices in the third world and give up a bit of the margin because otherwise people just can't afford the globalized prices of consumer electronics.
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - link

    I'm on prepaid and got a Lumia 920 a couple years ago (I think!)
    Paid about $500 AUD outright for it, the prepaid rates are actually cheaper, so I actually save money over the long term. :)
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    At the same time, $55/mo is less than 2/3rds of the $90 (40 voice + 20 messaging + 30 data) VZW wanted as the smart phone entry price 7 or 8 years ago; it's slowly but steadily tricking downward, as VZW tries to convince more holdout's to upgrade. During the same time the price for a minimum voice plan only dropped $5. I expect the gap to keep getting narrower; and when they finally shutdown their 2g (and 3g) network - currently planned for 2021 - I suspect this sort of bottom end smartphone will be what they hand out to refuseniks for free without increasing their billing rate (the FCC requires them to do so when retiring a voice network), if only because by then I doubt there will be any non-smart phones available to offer instead. Reply
  • c933103 - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    I think there are some nokia asha that support wcdma nowaday and will probably continue to be offered by the end of the decade..
    And for phone price plan, comparatively, here is a link to price plan in China, with ~6.2RMB=1USD: http://www.3gsolutions.com.cn/page/mthplan and note that there are also numerous traffic package available, which mean user would not needed to jump to a higher traffic plan for more data, (which according to http://s.taobao.com/search?q=%C1%F7%C1%BF%B0%FC&am... the price seem to be around 0.5USD per every 300MB per month)
    Reply
  • Murloc - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    you don't have to get any plan with a smartphone.
    People who have cheap traditional phones don't have a plan, why would they have to get it when they change to a smartphone?
    There's wifi available in many places anyway so they're still more connected than before.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    The plan has nothing to do with the phone. Yes, you need a more expensive plan to get a $500 rebate if you're doing the two- or three-year thing and getting an expensive flagship device; but if your new phone is only $30, there's no need to even be on a plan. Just get a pay-as-you-go SIM, and make sure your new phone takes a SIM card. Reply
  • Sushisamurai - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    so as this may be great news for our consumer habits, i personally do not think this is "great" news. With lower costs means lower margins; if the cost isn't coming from the materials, it's coming from other sources - perhaps even the workers that slave over the increased in demand for "cheap" phones/tech products.

    Not to mention the new added waste of tech that will be obsolete artificially sooner and the added cost for "flagship devices" (raw material supply cost will be buoyed as supply will be split between creating cheap phones to flagship)
    Reply
  • usama_ah - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    Everything you said in terms of analysis I think you're spot on. Except the part about worker/slaves I think this is in the end good, I'm hopeful this tech will cont to make lives easier (in many ways) for those in poverty. If the high end pays more for phones then so be it, though as mentioned before some of that segment will buy 'good enough' phones. And maybe the increase demand for material will push companies to push recycling harder. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    I would expect the high end phones to shrink, not grown in market share. I would also expect the mid range phones to grow more than shown, and the low end less than shown.

    Ideally we want a massive mid-range, and tiny high end and low end range.

    $200 should get me a 4.4" 720p+ phone with the newest Android and 4G LTE on any Network. Which I still cannot find.

    The larger problem is, of course, carriers are still charging for data, as if there's a direct cost association between 2GB of data and 20GB. That's the primary problem we need fixed.

    It doesn't matter if you're phone is $20 if your monthly bill is $60, Verizon.
    Reply
  • grant3 - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    "... as if there's a direct cost association between 2GB of data and 20GB."

    Of course there's an association between being able to support 2x, 5x, or 10x as much data transfer. More towers, newer technology, more equipment, more power, more backbone, more technicians to manage... that stuff doesn't magically appear when millions of customers start filling up all the available bandwidth.

    Is the price *increase* between tiers justified? Well that's a matter of consumer choice. Verizon will no doubt continue tweaking their pricing to extra the maximum profit possible from their entire customer base.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Still, though, that's bandwidth. It would make a great deal of sense to charge for bandwidth rather than raw data.
    Dial-up can be a solid 2 KB/s when things are working nicely, which is 5 GB/month. So, if I wanted to use data constantly, you can pretend I'm paying $40/month for dial-up.

    The main problem is that smartphones need a lot of data instantly, but don't generally use more than 1 GB every month (for their own tasks; I'm not counting YouTube and such). I'd like at least some basic tiering, though, so I could choose a 10Mbps line of the same amount of data for cheaper. It would help with congestion, too, unlike charging more for more GB/month would.
    Reply
  • Murloc - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    Not gonna happen.
    People who have money, buy the best.
    People who don't care about games and just want something that works for the basic stuffs, will buy below 150-160$.
    People who have no money, will buy in the super low range and not get a plan so they won't care if you pay too much in the US.
    Reply
  • c933103 - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    >4G LTE on any network
    That mean all TDD and FDD network that are operational today and future, which include probably 20-30 bands or more? I don't think we have enough technology to make it. If not, Moto X/Galaxy S5 Mini would probably fit
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    Hmmm... When the entire phone is $20, how much would the LTE modem cost? I wonder if we could have $5 pop-in modem-SIM combos, so that you get, basically, an advanced SIM card that provides the LTE bands for the carrier you bought the SIM from.

    Or we could just buy a different $20 phone each new country we go. That makes sense, too.
    Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    Ouch! A single A5! Not even a Single A7 ! Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    When you're looking at a $60 retail price; never mind $20 every penny counts. The A5 has 82% of the A7's theoretical performance (1.57 vs 1.9 DMips/mhz) but only takes up about 2/3rds as much die area at equivalent process sizes (arm lists A5 as .68mm^2 @ 40nm vs A7 as .45mm^2 @ 28nm). It's good enough, if only barely, which is the name of the game at the very bottom of the stack. Lastly, unlike the older arm11 architecture uses the same architecture as the A7-A57 cores meaning it can use the same software with minimal work needed to make it compile and run. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    Is quoting part of someone else's comment to mask a spam link new; or am I only noticing is now because it was my text being abused? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    It's not new. We're normally just faster about deleting it. Reply
  • Egg - Tuesday, May 06, 2014 - link

    I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to have a lower-power derivative of Android/something else entirely for those phones. Please not what's on feature phones today, though. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Saturday, May 24, 2014 - link

    The difference between Android and those feature phones is pretty small, when you think of it. The biggest problem would have been the RAM amounts and such, but we can be sure that'll be over an order of magnitude larger.
    Android itself will probably do just fine. There's something to be said about the advancement of mobile culture by forcing everyone to use a touchscreen instead of crappy plastic coatings and arrow keys.
    Reply
  • cdm1000 - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    Things are very different in Europe! I have a pay monthly SIM card that costs about US$15 per month for large numbers of calls and texts as well as 500 MB of data per month. Wireless networks mean that over the air data demand is going down all the time. These expensive contract price is that people are mentioning when you are wrapping in an expensive phone and effectively paying that off with a monthly contract. If you can buy a phone at a few tens of dollars then this approach is a lot more economic. The technical capability of these low-cost phones is still pretty extraordinary so that only nerdy people like me will want to buy a top end Halo phone. Reply
  • c933103 - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 - link

    If ARM do some research, then they would find out there are a number of 3G Android phone selling in China on taobao for 15USD now already. Link: http://s.taobao.com/search?spm=a230r.1.8.6.86lySL&... Reply

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