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Low-cost Android phones snag hitch amid strong sales

Posted: 26 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartphone? mobile OS? Android?

Recent figures suggest that the most dominant mobile OS in the market is Android. However, the platform may face difficulties unleashing its full potential due to a huge price disparity among Android-enabled handsets, according to In-Stat's research titled "Less is More: The Worldwide Emergence of Low-Cost Android Smartphones."

Global markets usually roll Android smartphones for $400 to $500, which consumers that have a feature phone or perhaps no phone at all will still find pricey. These potential smartphone owners only have one OS choice in the low-cost category, (under-$150) and that is Android. In-Stat forecasts that unit shipments for low-cost Android smartphones will top 340 million worldwide in 2015.

"The low-cost Android handset segment will cause some fragmentation in the Android platform," noted Allen Nogee, research director at In-Stat. "Most low-cost Android smartphones are likely to be released with Android 2.2 or 2.3, since these versions are a good blend of features with modest memory and processor usage. The Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) step-up in memory and processor demands makes this release less attractive for low-cost Android devices."

In-Stat added that the low-cost smartphone segment is Android's to lose. This market could get much more competitive, especially as other OS vendors begin to target the space. The research revealed that low-end low-cost smartphones generally stick with EDGE and processors running at 600MHz speeds or less, where a single-core EDGE chip sells under $10. In addition, smaller phone manufacturers will sometimes purchase from the 'gray market' where component manufacturers typically don't pay licensee fees, royalties and taxes for the products they produce.

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