ARM: $20 smartphones coming “in the next few months”

Entry-level smartphones may not have all the bells and whistles of the mightiest flagships, but such devices have made it more affordable than ever for users to get online around the world. But even handsets like the incredibly capable Nokia Lumia 520 (and the less impressive ZTE Open with Firefox OSare still out of the reach of the most price-sensitive buyers, especially those in emerging markets.


Smartphones like the ZTE Open are available at ultra-low cost, but even cheaper devices are on the way

Efforts to help ‘the next billion’ people to get online are being fuelled by falling hardware costs, with manufacturers eager to give new users their first taste of the web. Devices like the Nokia 105 already sell for around $20, but lack smartphone capabilities.

But ARM predicts that that will soon change – and not a few years down the line, but in the next few months. Mozilla said in February that it was working on launching $25 Firefox OS handsets but, as AnandTech reports, ARM predicts that before the end of this year, the first $20 smartphones will be launched.

Such devices will be far from the pocket powerhouses that many of us know and love, though; ARM suggests that an Android device at that price range would only have a single-core Cortex-A5 processors. Don’t expect 4G LTE at that price, either – a $20 phone is unlikely to offer anything faster than 2.5G/EDGE connectivity for now.

But even with such modest specs, demand for such devices is likely to be massive, especially in developing markets. While around 500 million entry-level smartphones/tablets (costing $150 or less) were shipped last year, figures jointly compiled by ARM and industry analysts Gartner estimate that that figure will double to a billion by 2018.

ARM says that “advanced mobile computers are becoming affordable to all”, but adds that handsets are unlikely to be priced much below $20 for the foreseeable future due to ‘manufacturing limits’.

Source: AnandTech via Ars Technica 

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11 Comments

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I'm always amazed at how some people just don't get how screwed we all already are by having almost every facet of our lives monitored. The "I'm not doing anything wrong" argument is so incredibly short sighted I can't even comment. Assuming anyone who wants more privacy is somehow a criminal or terrorist is ridiculous.

I'm hoping that a chinese manufacturer will mass produce phones similar to the Jiayu F1 with ubuntu touch o.s installed. This would provide good performance and won't require paying $5-8 in patents to microsoft and others and google for their apps.

Google apps aren't really an issue, in china they sell android phones without google apps since the play services aren't available anyway in china. So android phones can be made without needing to pay for android at all but that requires you to have a alternate market or no market app.

And ubuntu touch requires quite some hardware so making a cheap phone with ubuntu touch sounds unreasonable, even when paying those patents and using android/windows phone might be cheaper because you can use cheaper hardware.

Ubuntu touch requires at least a Cortex-A9 soc which is not the kind of soc you'd use for extreme low end devices because of the costs. So I think firefox OS or android has a bigger chance to become big in this market.

Give me a candybar phone with whatsapp and facebook messenger built in, with just basic internet for non-formated mail, with no camera and other bells and whistles and the battery life of the Nokia 105 and I'll be happy.

but with that kind of battery life? I had the impression the battery was not that good and not all ashas had whatsapp.

And finally, Asha's are more like blackberry than candybar :(

I dont know why, but I find the 105 or the 225's design stunning

sanctified said,
Give me a candybar phone with whatsapp and facebook messenger built in, with just basic internet for non-formated mail, with no camera and other bells and whistles and the battery life of the Nokia 105 and I'll be happy.

A candybar phone? Like kit-kat? ;)

And once available we'll get an onslaught of user from these markets complaining how their phone is useless and does not run so-and-so app.

It will be netbooks all over.. sounds good at the time but will mostly backfire due to horrible performance