Building a cheap smartphone smartphone is easy. Building a cheap smartphone that people actually want to buy is the hard part. If you want to hit that $99 price point, you have to make sacrifices, so you start with the obvious components like screen and materials, but what about the guts? With the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat, Google says it’s the first version of Android that’s optimized to run on devices with as little as 512 MB of memory. Well, Samsung thinks they can do better.
According to an image that’s appeared on The Handheld Blog, which was captured at an event hosted by The Linux Foundation, the South Korean handset maker has a “Lite” version of their Tizen operating system in the works that needs just 256 MB of RAM to run. This cut down OS will not support screens with a resolution higher than 320 x 480 pixels, but you were expecting that, right?
Why are cheap smartphones important? Because that’s the next big area of growth. You’re weird, buying a 600 Euro phone every 12 months. There are several tens of millions of people like you, but for the most part, regular folks want a basic phone that does what they want and they don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for it.
Samsung already told investors at their recent investors conference that they’re going to target the midrange in 2014, and whereas this year roughly a third of the smartphones they sold were “high end”, that number will likely drop to 25% next year.