updated 01:38 pm EDT, Mon October 22, 2012
From 2010 to 2016, low-cost smartphones to double yearly
The low-end smartphone market will experience phenomenal growth over the next six years, with shipments of models costing under $150 set to double every year between now and 2016. This according to NPD DisplaySearch's new Smartphones: Displays, Designs and Functionality report. The report sees low-cost smartphone shipments doubling every year from 2010 to 2016, with the sector moving 311 million units in 2016.
Growth in the low-end sector is driven in large part by the Asia Pacific region, where most of the component suppliers and manufacturing facilities that produce these devices are located. Most mobile phone subscribers can't afford to spend more than $200 on a phone in addition to their service plans, so manufacturers are pushing out new products quickly, allowing them to quickly market devices in developing regions.
Google's Android operating system is expected to feature heavily in the low-end surge. Low-cost handsets running Android are expected to grow from two percent of total smartphone shipments in 2012 to 29 percent in 2016. By 2016, low-cost Android models will account for more handsets than the total smartphone market in 2010.
The next-largest region after the Asia Pacific region is expected to be Latin America, with the Middle East and Africa following behind and Eastern Europe thereafter. Western Europe and North America will account for a small portion of sub-$150 smartphone sales.