Is a $20 smartphone looming?

Kyle White, ClickOnline.com

, Last Updated: 12:40 PM ET

When you think about smartphones, you're probably not imagining a $20 device, or anything even close to that price point, but chip manufacturer ARM reckons that's something we could be seeing in the next few months as the cost for low-end components continues to plummet.

If you're starting to get excited about such a low cost proposition, then it's probably a good idea you start to reel your expectations in, because we're talking about some severely cut-priced technology here, and it's certainly not going to be anything you can expect to see replacing your current handset any time soon.

The likelihood is that when that price point is reached, it'll be with a handset using the ARM Cortex A5 single core chipset. The low cost chip has seen its price drop dramatically in the past twelve months, and it now sits on the cusp of the $20 threshold.

On top of the somewhat limited chipset, it's also likely that any $20 device would max out at 256 MB of RAM, 512MB at a push, and offer users around 4GB of internal storage. Display technology implemented in the device would likely be archaic compared to the current high-end devices, but for someone who needs their handset simply to make and receive calls and texts, then $20 is tough to argue with!

Of couse, those of us fortunate enough to live in developed nations definitely aren't the target market with these super-low end devices, but rather those in developing countries where the cellular infrastructures are only beginning to catch up. But those people represent a potentially huge market share, and there will be plenty of handset manufacturers out there eager to make an impression and perhaps instill some brand loyalty right from the start.


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