Business Insider’s coverage of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is sponsored by Intel.
It’s only the first official day of Mobile World Congress, the big mobile industry conference in Barcelona, but there’s already a clear theme: Phone makers are doing ultra-cheap smartphones.
The high-end of the smartphone market is controlled by Apple and Samsung. Therefore, handset makers are giving up on trying to compete in the premium market.
That leaves the low-end in places like India, Latin America, and Africa. And when we say low-end, we mean low-end.
Firefox, for instance, was talking about delivering a $US25 smartphone. Someone here at MWC snapped a photo of a $US35 dollar smartphone from a Chinese manufacturer.
Yesterday, during Microsoft’s press event, it said it was making it easier for handset makers to sell cheaper phones.
Then, this morning, Nokia revealed an Android-Based phone that goes for $US129. Nokia also introduced a new “Asha” phone that sells for $US67. Asha is Nokia’s super low-end smartphone platform.
Nokia had nothing to introduce at the high end of the market, it was all low-end stuff today.
We visited the Firefox booth to find out more about its $US25 phone. Right now, it’s mostly theoretical. It has a reference design that it wants carriers and phone makers to use. It’s unclear if any of them really will make a $US25 phone.
When asked why they should make a cheap smartphone, Firefox said it wanted to get smartphones in the hands of people that don’t yet have phones.
That seems to be what this MWC is all about: How do we get smartphones in the hands of the people that haven’t been able to afford them so far?