LIRNEasia’s thesis that most people will experience the Internet through mobile networks depends to an extent on cheap terminal devices. According to the Economist, Android is playing a role in bring low-cost producers into the smartphone segment.
Prices are now on a downward spiral, says Ben Wood of CCS Insight, a research firm. Several other handset-makers are already offering cheap smart-phone-like devices. Android allows cut-price Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE to enter the smart-phone market, which they had previously stayed out of for lack of the necessary software. Last month T-Mobile, a mobile operator, gave a taste of things to come. Its British subsidiary started selling the Pulse, an Android-powered smart-phone made by Huawei, for only £180. (The cheapest iPhone model sells for £340 in Britain if bought without a contract.)