ZTE is quietly becoming a force in the U.S. by selling good enough phones at low prices – smaller prepaid smartphones for $30, basic phones with QWERTY keyboards for about the same, and so on. The Chinese company’s products are among the cheap phones of choice at three of the big four U.S. carriers. (Verizon doesn’t carry them.) ZTE claimed about 8 percent of America’s smartphone market in the second quarter of this year, says researcher IDC, up from 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2014. That ranks the company fourth among smartphone makers overall, behind Apple, Samsung, and LG. “We came from nowhere, and now we are a solid force,” says Lixin Cheng, head of ZTE’s U.S. operations.
For many people, their phone isn’t a status symbol, or it’s just something they don’t care about at all – as long as it makes calls and pulls some light duty, they’re happy. I really dislike how these phones and its users tend to be portrayed in the media – almost as if these people are stupid, silly, or dumb for not wanting the latest iPhone or Galaxy phone. Elitist nonsense.
The other story, is that cheap Android smartphones have brought modern internet to nearly a billion people around the world. On a recent trip to ((country in Central America)), I found that my OnePlus One was smaller than most peoples’ phones (mostly brands I’ve never even heard of, and I frequent GSMArena). The smartphone is probably the primary computing device for most people in the developing world, and these cheap Android smartphones are enabling devices for many.
I just don’t think this would have been possible in another universe where certain companies won their patent disputes and phones still cost $700+.
Edited 2015-09-04 23:07 UTC
The sub $100 phone market is going to get very large in the US as most carriers are abandoning the phone subsidy model and people realize the real price of phones.
Low end Nokia Lumia’s have sold fairly well as secondary handsets with the 520/521 leading the pack in 2013/2014 . Granted this is still a very small percentage of the total market…
I’m still fairly impressed at how decent a device the 521 is (esp for a $30-$40 phone). There is no way I am ever going to pay $600 for a phone again. For that much money I can get a laptop, phone and tablet.
Edited 2015-09-04 23:30 UTC