The Android smartphone market faces fragmentation as sales of low-cost versions of the devices soar in Africa, India and China, InStat analysts warn.
Shipments of Android handsets priced $150 or less will account for 80% of all smartphones sold in the three markets by 2015, the research firm predicts. However, given those devices currently typically run older versions of Android – in particular versions 2.2 and 2.3 - there is a risk the operating system will become fragmented, particularly as leading vendors deploy the very latest versions of the software.
InStat notes a key attraction of the older software is that it requires less powerful processors, which help keep production costs down. Current low-cost units typically run EDGE on processors running at 600-MHz or less. A single core EDGE chip costs less than $10, the research firm states.
Despite the upbeat forecast, InStat research director Allen Nogee, predicts low-price Android handsets will “face heavy competition in some regions,” as major players including Nokia, Samsung and Microsoft eye the sector.