Budget mobiles get smarter

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The smartphone market has grown rapidly over the last few years, and with more manufacturers battling it out to become the leader of mobile technology a greater number of high-end specs are slowly starting to crop up on lower-end devices.

Competition on the high-end market is fierce, so the more handsets a company sells the greater its market share will become, something which can provide an indication of how well a firm is doing against its rivals.

However, this puts an increasing amount of pressure on phone makers to develop handsets for all types of potential consumers, and more than ever this means being able to offer a similar level of innovation and functionality across all of its devices.

Kevin Curran, from the institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, said: “top of the range Apple and Google smartphones are simply too expensive” for some. This is resulting in more firms producing less spec heavy versions of their high-end offerings as they look to drawing in new users, who would usually be put off by the cost of the accompanying phone contracts.

Setting a trend with the latest phone

And, for those brands yet to start producing lower-cost versions of their devices Dobek Pater, a telecoms analyst, predicts that it’ll only be a matter of time before they too start jumping on the budget phone bandwagon.

The most recent example of this is BlackBerry, which has just this week launched the BlackBerry 10- toting QWERTY Q5, a low-cost, low-spec version of the BlackBerry Q10, while still housing a generous helping of innovative software features.

Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry’s CEO, said the device is aimed to “show the world that BlackBerry understands mobile better than anyone else.” Gaining mainstream attraction is key to the Canadian manufacturer‘s success and producing an affordable device running its latest software could be just the boost the firm needs.

Meanwhile companies like Samsung and Nokia have being creating lower-end handsets for quite a while now.  As with the Galaxy S III, Samsung is once again rumoured to be introducing a ‘mini’ version of its latest device, the Galaxy S4, to tempt even more users to its mobile platform.

Similarly Nokia released the hugely successful Windows Phone 8-toting Lumia 620 as an alternative for those not wanting or unable to fork out the extra cash on the leading Lumia 920.

Something for everyone

Even Apple, which has always been focussed on creating premium products, is also reportedly working on a budget iPhone. Peter Chadha, CEO of technology site Steegle.com, said a notable number of smartphone users are starting to turn their backs on brands like Apple in favour of more “basic” handsets, simply because they now realise they can get similar features from a device for half the cost.

What smartphone manufacturers are now starting to find is that they can’t retain their position in the mobile race simply by only producing premium handsets. So the prospect of seeing a greater number of high-end features in budget devices is a very likely prospect indeed, which can only be a good thing if you’re looking to save some money and still get a slice of the latest mobile innovations.

Dan Appelquist, of Telefonica Digital, said: “The big opportunity is in how smartphones are put into the hands of the next billion users.” And, with research firm IDC predicting the popularity of budget handsets will soar over the coming years, focussing on the lower-end of the market certainly seems to be the way forward for phone makers who want to maintain a strong presence in the smartphone space.

Written by Sarah Hazelwood of Dialaphone, the go to place for all the latest smartphones.

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