The series of product announcements from smartphone manufacturers coming from and around Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona look likely to push smartphone penetration even further across all markets and price points, and to make smartphones more attractive and affordable than ever before as ereading platforms. Manufacturers seem to be queuing up to offer larger screens with higher resolutions at lower prices.
Typical of these announcements, Lenovo, has announced a new series of smartphones, the S series, which “start at $349, $269 and $229, respectively.” In this series, the S860 has “a large 5.3-inch HD screen,” the S850 has “a large 5-inch screen for watching content in high definition,” and the S660 is “a compact 4.7-inch device.”
Alcatel, meanwhile, is rolling out a 2.8-inch Onetouch Pop Fit wearable device that seems to be more ready to compete in the smartwatch space, as well as 5-inch midrange phones, the OneTouch Idol 2 and the OneTouch Idol 2S, reportedly appearing at EUR 289 ($397) and EUR 219 ($357) respectively, and the 4.5 inch OneTouch Idol Mini, expected at EUR 189 ($260). Not to mention the announcements of Android phones from Nokia – but more on that elsewhere.
All this as Carphone Warehouse, the UK’s top cellphone retailer, cuts the price of Google’s flagship Nexus 5 device to £240 ($399). At this rate, we might yet see smartphones down in the same price range as the cheaper ereaders from the likes of Amazon and Kobo.
Just before MWC2014, Phone Arena shared the interesting titbit that: “in 2013, the average price for an Android smartphone dropped to $276, while the average iPhone sold for a whopping $650.” Good luck, Apple, in hanging on to enough differentiation and premium branding to justify that yawning price gap.
Then there’s Mozilla, which is pushing via a partnership with Chinese manufacturer Spreadtrum to drive the entry price for a smartphone down to $25, through its new Firefox OS. Whether this works out, and whether some Android device manufacturer succeeds in pushing its own price point down to the same level, remains to be seen, but it certainly suggests the way that the smartphone market is going: Smarter, better, cheaper.