Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) has a stranglehold over the low-cost smartphone segment today as many consumers with no budget to purchase high-end smartphones that cost US$400 to US$500 turn to these devices instead. As such, 339 million low-cost Android handsets are expected to be shipped in 2015, a new study has revealed.
Released late Thursday, the study by In-Stat noted that in many parts of the world, many consumers consider typical Android or other top-tier smartphones out of their reach, as they currently own only a feature phone or none at all. To this demographic, there is only one OS choice in the low-cost category--Android--which is why unit shipments for such devices will reach 339 million globally in 2015, it added.
"The low-cost Android handset segment will cause some fragmentation in the Android platform," said Allen Nogee, research director at In-Stat. "Most low-cost Android smartphones are likely to be released with versions 2.2 or 2.3, since these versions are a good blend of features with modest memory and processor usage."
He added that the newly-launched Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, is less attractive for these low-end devices due to its step up in memory and processor demands.
The study also noted that the low-cost smartphone market is for Google to lose, although it is expected to get much more competitive as other OS vendors begin to target the space. Apple, for one, had earlier announced that its iPhone 3GS would be available at no cost with a two-year contract. Other competitors include Huawei, Micromax, Motorola, Samsung, Spice and ZTE, In-Stat revealed.