Dameon D. Welch-Abernathy, AKA PhoneBoy, is a mobile phone connoisseur like me and information security specialist. He is one of the few people that actually make sense when talking about mobile platforms and devices.
I stumbled on some of his thoughts on mobile phones in developing countries yesterday. Here they are for your convenience:
Not only does the price need to come down, but the phones need to be more miserly on data usage.
Phones, services and apps must be optimized for low bandwidth use. Current Smartphones are not.
I prefer my older Symbian devices when outside the US as they are not constantly connected & low bandwidth.
It’s one reason I think Nokia’s Asha devices are compelling. They are designed for low bandwidth use.
No doubt iOS has better apps, but the Apple devices aren’t cheap and use lots of data.
The company who can build a first world Smartphone for a third world mobile network will get the next billion users.
There’s plenty of money to be made at the low end. It’s about volume.
Basically, it is the same thing that I keep repeating. Which manufacturer will bell the cat? Who will deliver a smartphone that’s not power and data hungry and at a good price?
Symbian used to be the standard for that. BlackBerry meets some of the requirements and fails at others. IPhone? Duh.
Yes; we have N20,000 Android smartphones but they fail at data and power consumption, and are terrible at performance. Android is just too much of a resource hog to handle low RAM and CPUs well.
Nokia’s Asha phones come close, but fail for the simple reason that they are not smartphones.
Dameon also reiterated something that I have pushed here: the money is always in the numbers, and the numbers are ALWAYS at the base of the pyramid. The manufacturers who get this concept right rule. Nokia ruled for over a decade because of this. Samsung now rules for the same reason. The iPhone’s very brief dance at the top was just that – a very brief dance.
When shall we get a first world smartphone designed for third world mobile networks and users? And from whom?
PS: I follow PhoneBoy on Twitter. You should too!