Low-Cost Android Smartphones to Account for 80% of Market in Some Areas

According to a NPD In-Stat research report, Less is More: The Worldwide Emergence of Low-Cost Android Smartphones, low-cost Android handsets will reach a penetration rate of 80% of total smartphones in Africa, India, and China by 2015. Low-cost Android will flourish in these emerging areas. However, it will face heavy competition in some regions. Samsung has bada, and Nokia is developing Meltemi. In addition, Microsoft has stated that it wants to sell Windows Phone in developing regions as well and could aggressively lower prices to gain market share.

The Android handsets that are sold in America and Europe are not the same low-cost Android handsets selling elsewhere in the world. The low-cost Android smartphone consists primarily of smartphones released with Android 2.2 or 2.3. These versions offer a good blend of features with modest memory and processor usage.

The low-end, low-cost smartphones generally stick with EDGE and processors running at 600MHz or lower, because a single-core EDGE chip sells for well under $10. In NPD In-Stat’s report, low-cost means smartphones that are $150 or less.

Smaller phone manufacturers will sometimes purchase from the gray market where component manufacturers typically don’t pay licensing fees, royalties, or taxes for the products they produce. Early competitors in the market include Huawei, MicroMax, Motorola, Samsung, Spice, and ZTE.

Less is More: The Worldwide Emergence of Low-Cost Android Smartphones

  • Unit shipments for low-cost Android smartphones will approach 340 million worldwide in 2015
  • The low-cost Android handset segment will cause some fragmentation in the Android platform
  • The Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) step-up in memory and processor demands makes this release less attractive for low-cost Android devices

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