Chinese handset vendors to release $50 Android smartphones this year

If you want a brand spanking new iPhone 4S, prepare to cough up over $650. Want a Galaxy S III? That’ll be $600 please. The Galaxy Nexus is an absolute bargin at $350, but what about $100? That’s today’s bar for low end smartphones. Sure, such devices typically have QVGA screens and processors that have transistors made out of vacuum tubes, but it doesn’t matter since they run Android. That means they have Gmail, Google Maps, an extremely competent web browser, and access to a massive library of applications. According to a report from DigiTimes, that $100 price point is going to be halved during the second half of 2012. They say that Chinese handset vendors are going to introduce smartphones that cost just 300 Chinese yuan on the local market. Translation: Roughly $47. It should be stressed that these devices will probably never leave China, but they’ll likely drive the larger players to introduce even cheaper smartphones.

What sort of specs will these $50 devices have? The report doesn’t go into details, but they do say that said phones will have 3G connectivity. We’ll confess, if Chinese companies can make a $50 phone that has 3G, WiFi, and GPS, then we’ll simply stop covering feature phones since they’re no longer going to be relevant.

Looking at this news from another angle, how much better will a $100 smartphone be in early 2013 compared to a $100 smartphone on today’s market? Are we finally going to see the death of QVGA screens at the $100 price point? Dare we say it, are we going to start seeing dual core processors at the $150 price point?

We understand that many of you probably don’t care about these budget devices, but you have to think about how far we’ve come during the past five years. You can buy five or six Android smartphones today with the same specifications as the first generation iPhone for the same price as today’s iPhone.

That’s incredible.

Back to top ▴