We’re less than 1 month into the second half of 2011, so it’s time for analysts to start making predictions about what’s going to happen by the time January 2012 rolls around. One figure we’re always waiting for the bean counters to release is how many smartphone units are going to be sold. We’ve made the argument, on numerous occasions, that feature phones should simply be discontinued and that handset vendors should focus on smartphones. In 2010 alone there were 302 million smartphones shipped according to Juniper Research, out of a total of 1.36 billion according to Strategy Analytics; that’s just 22%. The Juniper Research folks however are confident that the year 2016 will be remembered in history as the first year where over 1 billion smartphones are shipped. They state the obvious, that while there will always be a market for premium ($400+) smartphones, it will be the devices that hover around the $150 that will drive sales. For that kind of cash today you can get something running Android on a 320 x 240 pixel screen, with WiFi, 3G, and even GPS. Not bad, but it can be better.
Considering that the ZTE Blade can be had for around $250 and it packs Android 2.2, an 800 x 480 pixel resolution screen, WiFi, GPS, 3G, and just about everything else you’d need, we’re excited to see just how long it will take for such a device to enter the sub $100 space. It wasn’t that long ago that quadband GSM/EDGE was considered a premium feature. Now you’ve got Nokia doing phones with all 5 3G bands and Motorola and Apple releasing devices that can use either GSM or CDMA networks. The next stage is obviously LTE, but that’s solely for the high end for now.
Do you know anyone who still uses a feature phone? Why haven’t they upgraded? Is it lack of funds or do they just hate new technology?
[Image above via CRN is of the Huawei Ideos X1]