The smartphones available in the market today range from sub-$200 devices from Chinese manufacturers all the way up to $600+ for Samsung and Apple handsets. ARM is now aiming to bring smartphones to the very bottom of the food chain with its upcoming $20 handset.
The most affordable smartphones that we have seen so far run Firefox OS. Recent estimates pegged the lowest possible price for such handsets to be a mere $25. It must be noted here that such low-end smartphones can’t be expected to push a vendor’s profits.
Rather, all these unusually low-priced smartphones will do is replace the regular feature phones which are still the primary choice of billions around the globe. Offering smartphones with prices at par with basic feature phones is a deal that’s too good to refuse for most consumers, even those with lower incomes.
The $20 handset that ARM intends to create will pack a single-core Cortex-A5 chip. Data on this handset will use EDGE. These are the bare essentials which will turn this handset into a functional smartphone on which you can use internet. But beyond that, the device will surely be every bit basic and simple as it possibly could be. It will run Android and ARM hopes to get it ready within the next few months.
The interesting part is that internet-based companies, such as Facebook, stand to gain huge numbers of new users through this strategy. Feature phone users in developing markets typically are not touched by the smartphone revolution and don’t use internet. But if the cheaper handsets from the likes of ARM and ZTE end up being their primary mobile choices, they will inevitably jump the online social networks bandwagon. So as ARM gears up to prepare this revolutionary and astonishingly-priced handset, we can expect that the company will gain some partners along the process.