ARM seems pretty confident that smartphone makers are working as fast as possible to introduce cheap smartphones. The company made statements during one of its recent events that make it quite clear that an Android phone will be released in the next few months for just $20, the lowest thus far.
During the company’s annual Tech Day conference, ARM said that due to advancements in the way that smartphones are manufactured, the lowest price point that could actually be hit is $20. Anything below that price simply would not be possible–only for now, though–because there are still limitations in place that prevent costs from being too low.
Remarkably cheap sub-$50 phones are not unheard of. One version of the Firefox phone that was previously announced was projected to be released at $25 and before that, an unbranded $35 phone was talked about in October 2013. However, this sort of phone is the cheapest.
ARM didn’t name names as to who would be releasing such a device, so it is possible that multiple manufacturers are actually working on $20 smartphones. Granted, it doesn’t take inside knowledge to realize that wherever possible, manufacturers are trying to drive down prices in order to break into new markets.
With incredibly cheap smartphones on the market, the days of “dumb” phones are limited. The only reason why those devices are still being created and made available is so that certain demographics have a phone that they can afford, but $20 is within most people’s budget.
So what will you get for $20? Well, the phone surely won’t be as fast or feature-packed as an iPhone 5S or Galaxy S5. However, it shouldn’t be horrible either.
ARM’s projections are based upon a Cortex-A5 2.5G Android phone. There are already some Android phones on the market for less than $80 that feature that processor, and they are not unusable.
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Summary: ARM says that $20 smartphones will be a reality in the next few months. The phones will include Android OS and a single-core Cortex-A5 CPU. ARM doesn’t think the handsets can currently get cheaper than $20.
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