The term is totally meaningless. Nokia introduced their first "Smartphone" in 2004:
Oh and their first "Superphone" in 2007:
Kinda how everyone in the US enjoys "Broadband".
For the developing markets, the cheaper the smartphone, the more revenue the company generates. So, if ABI is focusing on making cheap smarthphones, then they have defined the market niche they desire.
Well my guess is the most growth (in volumes) will be experienced by companies like ABI. This is because there are huge numbers of prospective customers in these regions (India and China together have over 2 billion people).
Furthermore, as more and more people move into the middle-class in these countries, they will probably trade their 'low-end' smartphones for the 'high-end' smartphones to reflect their change in social status. And with Apple, Blackberry, etc putting high premiums on their phones, they will probably experience huge growth in revenues as well.
Clearly, it is not easy to build a strong brand and goodwill to compete with companies like Apple and Blackberry. So I would say this is a reasonable strategy for ABI.
Cell phone market grows a lot in the 3rd world countries which are lack of telephone infrastructure. In addition, cell phone users are primarily looking for voice connectivity instead of anywhere Internet. With this said, a low cost, small in size cell phone will usually serve the purpose. The market of smartphone, no doubt, is growing. The margin of selling a smartphone is high too. That's probably why a lot of phone makers, especially the new one, are jumping into the boat. Will smartphone business sustain for a long time? I guess only market can tell.
Sorry for any confusion.
The simple answer is: ABI sees the next wave of growth coming from lower cost more mainstream priced smartphones.
ABI is not redefining the smartphone, just noting the trickle down of Moore's Law.
Hope that clarifies things
I totally agree Junko. "Low-end smartphone" sounds like an oxymoron. Any phone that has a broadband connection -- at least 3G -- and a UI that makes web browsing practical, is by definition a high-end phone.
If ABI's definition of a smartphone is something less than that, then it seems like they are just playing games with the terminology.
Wait, I am reading this headline that says "Smartphone growth lies in the low-end phone."
I had to do a double take. Huh? What is ABI's definition of a "smartphone" then? I do understand that Nokia is very strong in low-end feature phones, etc., but that is not to say that those feature phones are smartphones...correct? We need clarification.