For those of us in North American, the smartphone is a ubiquitous part of our lives. In many respects, the smartphone is our main computer, since it's what we have on us all the time. Like the saying "the best camera is the camera you have on your person," the best computer is the one you have in your pocket. But, North America is a saturated market. High-end devices are everywhere. This is not the case for much of the rest of the world. Citizens of developing countries are much more price sensitive, which is why - according to Read Write Web - 2014 is the year of the "cheap smartphone."
According to research firm comScore, fully 65% of all mobile users in the U.S. already own smartphones. At 156 million consumers, that's roughly half the U.S. population.
Dan Rowinski describes handset makers as being engaged in a "race to the bottom" - fighting primarily over the Chinese market, but also other Asian-Pacific markets and India. He argues the focus is no longer on the latest technology, but who will ship the most phones to the developing world.
Even Apple is trying to make some headway in developing countries with the iPhone 5C, though the company admitted it miscalculated the number of phones it would ship. The 5C is not appreciably cheaper than the far superior 5S, so most customers flocked to the latter. With a million phones shipped through the world's largest carrier - China Mobile - Apple is not losing money by any stretch of the imagination. They're products are just more appealing to China's more elite class, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Apple's strength lies in the high-end market, and capturing the interest of wealthy Chinese now may be a better long-term strategy.
Perhaps the most perplexing entrant into the market is Nokia, which recently announced the Nokia X at Mobile World Congress. It's running a highly customized version of Android - one that looks a lot like the Windows Phone interface. Not surprisingly, the Nokia X runs all the essential Microsoft Services and there's no sign of the Google Play Store anywhere. In fact, the phone will have access to third party app stores, and at 100 Euro, it will appeal to price sensitive users. Microsoft has also made Windows Phone run on slower hardware as per its most recent OS update. There are also rumours the software giant will reduce (and hopefully eliminate) the licensing costs OEMs have to pay to manufacture Windows Phones.
It's no surprise that Android pretty much owns the low-end phone market, but Rowinski says Google isn't coasting.
When Google released its latest version of Android, one of the most significant changes was an overhaul specifically intended to ensure that Android's newest features and functions would work on lower-end hardware. In Android 4.4 KitKat, Google made the profile of the operating system fit into smartphones work on devices that run on as little as 512MB of RAM.
These changes to the OS hardware requirements, in addition to its strong partnerships with OEMs, means Google is in a very strong market position.
Of course, there are other players now, most notably Mozilla's Firefox phones. Rowinski says Mozilla has made great attempts to ship their devices in volume.
Sullivan said analysts estimate that between 500,00 and 750,000 Firefox OS smartphones shipped in the first six months following the operating system’s debut. Mozilla announced that it was expanding to 12 new markets this year (up to a total of 27) with seven new devices during Mobile World Congress. The killer may be a $25 smartphone called SC6821 that Mozilla is making with chip manufacturer Spreadtrum this year.
Clearly the phone market is becoming a lot more cluttered than it was in 2010. Check out the full article in the source below.
Source: Read Write Web