$20 Smartphones?

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Smartphones could become cheaper than toasters. It was recently reported that the first $20 smartphone may be offered during the summer.

ARM Holdings predicts a single-core, Cortex-A5 2.5G Android operating system smartphone will soon sell for about $20. And by 2018, watch for about 1 billion entry-level smartphones getting shipped a year – ARM predicted at its recent Tech Day in Austin, Texas. They are described as selling for less than $150.

This news comes after a $25 Firefox operating system smartphone was shown to the sector.

These trends are occurring due to the scaling of technology and smaller CPU cores, according to Anand Tech.  That means non-smartphones will likely be replaced by smartphones. In fact, ABI Research predicts, “Android is set to gain almost all of the billions of mobile subscribers still upgrading to smartphones."

But one commentator on the Anand Tech site, icrf, said, “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.”

It is possible, too, that these low-cost smartphones will be found in places like Asia and Africa rather than Europe or North America.

Whatever the market, ARM predicts twice the number of entry-level smartphones will be sold globally, in a few years – than now.

And ARM is also focusing on high-end devices such as smartphones and tablets with quad-core, 64-bit processors.

“While higher-end smartphones sales are forecast to remain relatively stable as a percentage of industry sales, emerging markets in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America will fuel a push to replace millions of feature phones currently in use with similarly-priced, affordable smartphone models,” according to The Street.

When it comes to other companies, Motorola will offer the Moto E, an affordable option, this year. Nokia also has provided an entry-level offering called the Nokia X, BGR reports.




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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