Can cheap handsets change the world of smartphones?
Though affordable handsets are readily available, the smartphone market has long been dominated by big brands and big prices. Technophiles spend hundreds every year on the latest handsets, upgrading their phones whenever a new mobile hits the shelves.
However, the last few years have seen a big increase in the number, and the quality, of affordable smartphones on the market. Just last month, an Indian company announced the launch of the world’s cheapest smartphone. Costing just £2.50, this bargain device could change the world of the smartphone for good.
The world’s cheapest phone
Produced by a company called Ringing Bells, this 3G handset has specifications to match a smartphone 10 to 15 times as expensive. When the company made the phone available for pre-order, their website saw an astounding 60,000 hits a second, crashing the site and pausing orders for a day or two.
Made in India – though early prototypes released to the press were Chinese in origin – the phone is set to produce manufacturing jobs for local people as well as offer them an affordable alternative to branded smartphones.
Critics of the phone say that there’s no way the device can be offered so heaply without a subsidy. Though the government denies involvement, it seems likely that the company are receiving backing from a powerful source.
The changing world of smartphones
If India does flood the market with affordable phones – there are other handsets readily available in the country for £30-£40 – it could force other brands to lower their prices in order to make their products more competitive.
We could well see bargain products from many of the major manufacturers, with big names competing to ensure theirs are the handset of the masses.
It’s possible that, if the demand for cheap smartphones continues to grow, we’ll begin to see a two tier system, with manufacturers producing both basic and deluxe smartphone ranges. This could lead to high end phones becoming even more expensive as brands develop ever more ingenious ways to tempt high earners and technophiles to part with their hard earned cash.
Though super cheap smartphone are yet to have a big impact on the UK market, their appeal is obvious. As more and more users switch to smartphones, and increasing numbers of school children are given handsets, the demand for cheap devices is sure to grow.
Find out more about smartphones and related topics on the Repair Labs blog.