(1) Xiaomi is going with razor thin margins on this first model to establish their name.
(2) $310 price unlocked won't apply for most of the people reading this.
(3) time to short higher margin android handset shops like HTC as commoditization hits with a vengeance.
(4) Conversely high end component makers look to win out as low margin phones explode everywhere and vendors bid for high end chips, screens and batteries.
Well #1 for sure. And they'll sell the phone for more where possible, but also play the other side by selling it dirt cheap via the net just to grow, so #2.
And yeah, #4. We're always going to need components and without a pesky OS vendor to demand a cut HW manufacturers will either make more, or simply win through increased volume at the new low prices. I'm sure a lot of us are waiting for the entrenched interests to crumble.
So #3, for sure. As the market opens up, and cheap hardware like this makes everyone a potential android developer, the high-margin players are relegated to the more clueless of their customer base as the rest are enticed away.
I'm currently shopping for a new phone, as my Nexus One keeps shutting off at random and a new battery didn't fix it. Since I don't want a contract, I'll be paying full price...I would love to buy this phone instead of a Nexus S or Galaxy S or other recent HTC phones. I'm limiting myself to phones that are easily rooted, since I like a stock Android OS rather than the ones that carriers have screwed up (I also rely on the WiFi hotspot feature occasionally, and I'm not paying $20/mo extra for it on trop of the already outrageous data rates). If this phone were available in the US today for $310, I would buy it today, without a bit of hesitation. There's nothing even close to that price point with those kind of specs.
Covered here previously: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2171107
My write up on how to activate the Optimus for WiFi use only: http://blog.gerundinganimal.com/2011/01/cheap-wifi-only-andr...
True it isn't unlocked, but I'm not aware of anyone saying unsubsidized == unlocked.
You can buy a Virgin mobile phone and never activate it. You can stop paying without penalty after your first month. That's unsubsidised.
What's the cost of
- Samsung Galaxy S II
- LG Optimus 2x (or Optimus Speed, depending on location)
for you? Both are recent dual core models, the latter is the cheaper one (I own that one and payed more than $300 and thought it a bargain).
The issue isn't just carrier subsidy in this case, having an uber-cheap Android phone will open up huge markets that are currently underserved by smart phones (Africa, anyone?). There are projects afoot that would greatly benefit from seriously cheap, capable hardware right now--my friend is working on a water finder project for rural areas in poor countries (think Botswana in the sticks) to help track well quality and production. This is a huge issue for these areas and having something that is as powerful as Android with GPS and network capabilities is a game changer.
At $310, that's a harder sell. At $99, it's a no brainer.
A straight up $99 phone certainly wouldn't have quite the appeal. I do think you'd sell a bunch of them, but nothing like the touchpad.
This article is pointing out that cheap high-end Androids (superphones?) are also becoming available.
It might, but I do not think it is a given. By the time it is economically feasible to sell such a phone for that price, the bar may have been raised to 'require' more power. Phones cost a couple of hundred dollar not only because of technical limitations, but also because that is what 'we' want to pay. Just like what happened with PCs, the prices may (and probably will) come down eventually, but I think that may be a few years in the future yet. For example, I would prefer a 3D or even holographic screen over a cheaper phone. I also think there will be applications of realtime image processing that will make 'us' prefer a faster phone at the same price over the current one at a lower price.
Sure, I've seen faster Android phones, but it feels quite responsive and it's usable. Angry Birds works ok. It cost me 90 quid, that's $140.
You know that Android devices are outselling iPhones, even in the high end, right? Price is not the only reason people are choosing Android devices over iPhones.
Android phones outsell iPhones for several reasons, chiefly supply and price.
Do you have a source for this assertion, or is it just a gut feeling?
Citation please? Some people no doubt buy Android for phobias about "walled gardens", etc. but that's about all I can think of having used both.
If you got this with a contract, it would go for $49. Compare that to the Epic 4G Touch for $199 with a contract.
Higher clockspeed != faster. One thing I've noticed about a few products from China and even on Android device variants, that this number does not definitively make it faster. Niether does the addition of a "fast" GPU and loads of ram.
Maybe its because China tends to write poor drivers and on Android, manufacturers and carriers love to add their own custom UI or applications that take a toll on the speed and experience.
You want an anecdote? I remember when I was in China in 2003. (Or 2004. Around that time.) Back here in the US, Motorola RAZRs were sorta popular. Here's an image for comparison of scale:
In China, the popular phones were very different. They were much smaller, they had more varied ringtones, they were more colorful. And they were not all Motorola phones either, Chinese domestic manufacturers were all trying to make their phones as thin, sleek, and minimalist as possible. (Sound familiar?) Since then Motorola has lost a lot of market share to Chinese manufacturers who mostly are not delivering tasteless clones. Part of it is that expensive cell phones become a status symbol, and the people who can afford those phones take them seriously. I couldn't find any pictures by Googling combinations of "china," "cell phone," "2003," etc. So take my word on it or not, but that was the case. (Of course, the Xiaomi device looks like an iPhone. But then everything looks like an Apple product these days.)
What's the moral of the story? Don't be like Motorola, don't throw away your Chinese market share, and don't force Google to acquire you just for your overpriced IP.
But obviously, for the specs listed, no phone competes at that price. It makes me wonder what margins they're expecting per phone.
How do they achieve better performance than other roms? Better drivers or just more tuning?
I can't really comment on how they get the better performance cause it's closed source. All the ports for the various devices are using the drivers from CyanogenMod I believe so it just has to be better tuning.
This phone certainly isn't the cheapest android phone, so I'm not sure what it's selling point is.
A phone closer to these specs (though I'm unaware of any available phones with specs this good) will cost $600+.
It has a terrible screen, is hardly responsive, and is only useful as a phone. And barely, considering how difficult it was to place a call using that awful screen.
If we can get a $50 smartphone on the market that doesn't completely stink then we're going to really see a big move towards android.