Forget R499, ARM says R299 Android phone is just months away

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Yesterday Vodacom launched its R899 Android smartphone. And earlier in the year we saw MTN’s R499 Steppa Android phone appear on South African shelves. Yet all of that will mean nothing if chip designer ARM is to be believed – at its second Tech Day event, ARM showed a slide that puts out a pretty fantastic message for those of us on the look out for cheap entry-level Android smartphones.

Arm’s notion is that the $20 (R200) smartphone is only months away from becoming a reality.

ARM Tech Days 1

Bearing in mind that the prospective $20 smartphone will have a lot of concessions to get down to that price point. Firstly it will only have access to 2.5G networks, otherwise known as GPRS, a data connection that is even slower than EDGE and definitely far off the 3G, HSPA and LTE connections most smartphone users will already be familiar with. Secondly, the price was calculated using a single core Cortex-A5 processor which is hardly state-of-the-art but will still be faster than the chip used in the $600 first version iPhone released in 2007.

ARM Tech Days

The high-end of the smartphone market dominated by both Apple and Samsung is almost completely saturated, with most of the growth in the space predicted to come from mid- to low-end smartphones. In fact, ARM is predicting that the premium market will remain stagnant through 2018 with low-end smartphones sales almost doubling to over one billion a year by then.

We’re massive fans of low-cost smartphones here at because of their power to transform the lives of the poorest citizens in our country in some of the most fantastic ways.

[Images – Anandtech]



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