Smartphone makers like to show off their talent and innovation skills by releasing expensive handsets with all the latest hardware and software stuffed under their hood. Manufacturers like Samsung, LG, HTC and others all compete with each other, and all of them try to defeat Apple’s iPhone, considered the ultimate flagship phone. Some potential buyers are fascinated by this clash of the manufacturers, but others find it utterly boring to hear about how excellent one or another model can be, while being unable to afford such a portable powerhouse. These people are the average users of handsets, who are looking for a reliable and strong, but also affordable solution.
Affordable handsets don’t usually make it in the mainstream media, as they usually don’t spark the interest of the specialist press. They are also released silently by the manufacturers. Or are they? Microsoft has launched its Lumia 535, an affordable 5″ smartphone, last year – and it has launched it in India first, a major growth market. The handset still made it to the news – it was the first to be released without the Nokia branding. It was followed by several cheap and powerful handsets from a series of other manufacturers: I routinely meet reviews of the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, a mid-range alternative to the manufacturer’s flagship handset with quite a few premium features, or the Leon and Joy handsets, both with budget-friendly prices, that were revealed at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. These phones all have more than decent hardware under their hood – perfect for playing the average Android game, or running the top casino games at red flush, but with only a few compromises that make them fit into a tighter budget. Microsoft has also revealed two new, affordable handsets during the event, after launching other two before – but their case is a bit more special, as they are refraining from releasing a new handset until Windows 10 for phones is launched this fall. But still – there are many affordable handsets making it to the news lately.
Apparently smartphone manufacturers have started to focus on growth not by surpassing their competitors at hardware and features, but by offering affordable solutions to customers in markets that have much more potential for growth – like India, China, and other Asian countries. These handsets are perfect for being the first smartphone for many – and they can build brand loyalty for the long term, making it likely for the user to switch to a next handset from the same manufacturer or on the same platform when the time comes. And this is a great strategy for the long term, don’t you think?