UK gets expensive Apple iPhone – India gets budget Google phone

Google is releasing a smartphone that costs less than £100 – the trouble for us here in the UK is that it’s getting released in India.

Yes, just a week after Apple informed us we’ll have to pay upwards of £500 for a brand new iPhone, Google announces it will be releasing a smartphone in India for just 6,499 rupees – that’s about £65.

Emerging markets

The Google Android One smartphones will be produced with three Indian phone manufacturers in an attempt to bring smartphone technology to the five billion people around the world that don’t currently have one.

And so the Karbonn Android One Sparkle V (which sound like a Japanese scf-fi series) is going for 6,499 rupees (£65) and the Spice Android One Dream Uno (which sounds like a character from aforementioned Japanese sci-fi series) for 7,499 rupees (£75).

The phone will run on the latest Kit Kat operating system and will automatically update to Android L later in the year.

And not only does the news of Google’s low-cost smartphone come hot on the heels of Apple announcing its most expensive best phone ever, but  it also comes shortly after Mozilla announced an even lower cost smartphone – the Intex Cloud FX runs on Mozilla’s Firefox operating system and costs just 1,999 rupees, that’s £33!

So how can smartphones be sold so cheaply to emerging markets yet cost so much in Europe and the US?

Lower spec smartphones

One of the reasons these phones can be sold so cheaply to emerging markets is because they are of a lower spec than the newest phones on the market – for instance, the Andriod One displays have a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels, which is a little bit lower than the iPhone 4’s 640 x 960 screen resolution.

The Cloud FX has and even lower resolution of 320 x 480.

And this isn’t just the case in emerging markets – Motorola introduced the low-cost Moto G smartphone to the western market, it had to compromise on the camera and connectivity to keep the price low.

Then there’s the fact that all the components are manufactured in these emerging nations and so you won’t get the ‘premium’ feel and performance of the smartphones we have become accustomed to.

And finally there’s the fact that these smartphones can be sold s cheaply because manufacturers and providers need them to be – even if the phones lose them money, they’ll more than make up the shortfall once these emerging markets are fully connected and their data can be mined and adverts pushed towards them.

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