Sunday, 7 April 2013

APPLE TO BUILD AN EMERGING MARKET SMARTPHONE?

APPLE TO BUILD AN EMERGING MARKET SMARTPHONE?

Rumors are swirling around the Consumer Electronics Show and beyond that Apple is considering the launch of a new, more affordable model of its iPhone in late 2013. While very few details have emerged, the general consensus is that the new smartphone will be priced somewhere around the $100-150 range without a contract. This reduced cost could place the iPhone firmly in the emerging market smartphone picture.


As it stands, Apple has only a very slight presence in emerging markets. With the new iPhone 5 costing $649 without a contract in the U.S., and often costing even more overseas, the smartphone is seen as a hyper-luxury item, affordable for only a small portion of consumers. On the other hand, Android powered smartphones manufactured by companies like Huawei are available for less than 10% of the price of a new iPhone and have therefore dominated the market. Globally, Android accounted for 68.3% of all smartphones shipped last year, reaching over 70% in many developing nations.

But Android isn’t the only player in developing nations. Nokia has long been the feature phone of choice for emerging market consumers. Recently, the company launched the affordable Asha smartphone, which currently sells for $99 without a contract, targeted towards mobile users in emerging markets. What’s more, Lenovo, which overtook Apple in Q3 2012 as the second-biggest selling brand in the Chinese smartphone market, has targeted a major expansion into emerging markets in the coming months. Already active in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Russia, and Vietnam, the Chinese company has purchased Brazilian electronics manufacturer CCE in a move to expand its presence in the South American nation.

Apple has certainly taken its time making a move into the lower end smartphone market, but given its outstanding brand image, it stands to reason that an affordable iPhone would make significant waves amongst consumers in developing nations. With the addition of a growingly popular ‘phablet’ to its product line, Apple is poised to become a key player in the battle for mobile users in emerging markets.


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