Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The End of the $200-Phone-for-$700 Business Is Here

Thank you Vizio.  At long last, it looks like someone is  going to stick-it to the smartphone business.  Since the iPhone first arrived, it's been no secret, for those who care to take a look, that the cost of the phone is about $185 to make and about $700 to buy it.

Fortunately, at least here in the US, you can get an overpriced wireless carrier to buy-down that price for you down back to around the price of the phone itself.  Of course, you'll need to pay the wireless company a couple of thousand dollars for the privilege.

It looks like Vizio is going to put a stop to that by offering an Android phone at, well, Vizio prices.  Whatever they are, and it's not clear yet what that price will be, it's not going to be expensive.  Right now, other than the size (4") and the CPU (1Ghz) we don't know the standard (GSM or CDMA) or the distribution model, but my expectation would be on Vizio to disrupt the market.  As a result, my bet:

  • GSM multi-band phone with HSDPA
  • Sold unlocked through electronics retailers
  • Price about $300
We'll see as the details come out, but this could knock $100-$250 off most other "unlocked" phones - when you can even get them unlocked.

A Picture of Vizio's new phone, pricing and distribution TBD.

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