Is Samsung’s $50 Smartphone An “iPhone Killer”?
Microsoft unveiled their latest Windows phone last week with the Samsung Focus Flash. While it’s sleek design and speedy processor are getting positive reviews, most attention is going to its price tag: $50.
Smartphone prices have dropped precipitously recently, with several Google Android models available for $79, and Apple‘s two-year-old iPhone 3GS included for free with a two-year contract.
Android and Apple top the market for smartphone operating systems, along with Symbian (popular in international Nokia phones) and RIM (maker of BlackBerry); combined, these four make up about 95% for the market, according to the latest statistics. Microsoft accounts up for just 1.5%.
Reviews of the Focus Flash indicate Samsung and Windows are trying to attract consumers with a bargain smartphone that doesn’t look or feel like a bargain smartphone. Endgadget notes that the phone “feels surprisingly nice in the hand,” and the brushed metal back “makes it feel like more of a premium device” than even more expensive Samsung models. CNET praises its “zippy 1.4GHz processor.”
But many doubt these budget phones will draw tech savvy users, or even smart consumers, away from higher-end gadgets. Market analyst Michael Gartenberg tells USA Today that retail price isn’t that important in the long run compared to a smartphone service plan, which is often around $80 a month.
“Any consumer who can do arithmetic realizes that the cost of a smartphone over two years, when you add in monthly service fees, is far more than $50,” says Gartenberg.
What do you think? Will you be lining up for the Samsung Focus Flash?