iPhones can run over 50,000 applications, and Apple's complete system design provides a hardware platform and system software ecosystem that is seamless yet flexible for feature expansion with new apps api's but at a premium retail price. The Android SDK and reference designs will continue to be multi vendor piecemeal without the system integration quality that Apple is famous for, and so most android phones will lag behind in total system integration as compared to Apple's vertical market approach for some time. But basic features of Android can provide a compelling user experience if a vendor does all the needed integration work to make the key features easy to use and reliable at new price points.
Actually i have first hand experience of cheaper so called (smart)phones. They have all the features but most of them are either not upto the standard or lack in functionality. My parents recently bought dual-sim phone in India. It was horrible to use when i had to use it for couple of days. The voice and mic quality, which is the basic necessity for any phone, was horrible.
I agree with you Himanshu. I have see many chinese phones, their quality is pathetic. You never know when the mobile will stop functioning. And then the question of safety. Better shell out some extra bucks and get good one.
The Sub$100 Android phone is only to amortize cost of software development. Those phones will use a subset of android features but give some additional features not existing at that price point now.
As usual better hardware and software will always differentiate the things that can be done and aids in more satisfying user experience.
If the smartphone doesn't do all the fancy features, simply enabling web browsing and productivity apps, building a sub-$100 phone is achievable. Although one of the current driving factors is gaming, I don't believe further penetration is relying on game but on apps. In addition, a high volume is able to compensate the lost in margin. In short, the cost is driven by a shifting of features and performance.
I heard the other day that India has sub-$50. The question is what in this tablet? I mean this is possible, but it may be a device that may not interest people like me. These hardware will become commodity soon.
I have still to read a report which give enough indication that growth of smartphones is hindered due to higher cost. I agree that there is a big market for cheaper and lowend smartphones in India and China but i have seen and experienced such phones and i highly doubt whether they can be categorized as smartphones. They have all the features of a smartphone just for gimmick.
The introduction of Android to the smart phone market has changed the game. Making a smartphone is no long a "privilege". Any manufacturer who knows how to put hardwares together is able to build an Android based smartphone. It is good for the consumers since we can get better price of a better product. The issue is how it impacts the brand who are trying to differentiate themselves from the crowds. What's the impact to engineering and product management profession?