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Market Research Report

Affordable Handsets: From Imitation to Innovation

Published by Ovum (TMT Intelligence, Informa) Product code 269885
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Affordable Handsets: From Imitation to Innovation
Published: May 21, 2013 Content info:


Although "traditional" handset vendors continue to grab the limelight, a growing number of "micro brands" and assemblers are disrupting the market by offering technologically-advanced devices at ever-more affordable-price points.


This report examines technology and market indicators, the deployment of mobile OSs and third-party reference designs that are contributing to and underpinning the affordable devices market landscape, and the varied success of handset vendors in this segment.


The demand for smartphones - and access to the various mobile technologies they bring - is increasing. Consumers are being presented with a choice of devices, at a variety of price points and across a number of operating systems, which is greater than ever before.

While the "traditional" handset vendors continue to be the innovation leaders, up-and-coming vendors are providing similar-spec handsets but at much lower price points and are competing head-on in this "affordable handsets" segment. This trend is causing significant disruption in the market, with a few of these incoming vendors outselling the "traditional" OEMs. Furthermore, a variety of smaller companies are finding ways to maximize their operating profits by keeping down operating expenditure, which can be a significant burden to the "traditional" OEMs.

This report examines the dynamics and addressable market for affordable handsets and identifies where the opportunities lie and the types of vendors that operate in the segment. In particular, the choices selected by the affordable market players and vendors, such as third-party reference design, mobile operating system and technologies used (including display, camera and embedded memory) are explored to highlight the different strategies employed in an attempt to drive down price and stay competitive. The optimal handset specifications, in terms of perceived value and cost of implementation, are also identified.

A full market forecast is provided, showing where the growth will come over the next five years and how it will compare with the wider mobile handsets market.

How will this research help you

  • Assesses which technologies and mobile OSs are most suitable in the affordable handset market
  • Analysis of handset price points and market dynamics in the segment
  • Examines the addressable market and how it is influencing vendor strategy
  • Provides a forward-looking view of how the market will develop, identifying the main disruptors

Case studies include:

  • Micro brands (Little Chilli, Xolo etc)
  • Aspiring brands (Micromax, Gigabyte, TCL, Yulong)
  • Established brands (ZTE)
  • "Traditional" OEMs (e.g., Nokia)
  • Android OS
  • FireFox OS
  • Tizen OS
  • Windows Phone OS

Countries / regions covered:

  • Global, with a focus on certain emerging markets.

New report format:

New Report format - designed for sharing - This research is available from our online store either as a hardcopy report or electronic format, featuring a series of

PPT and Excel files, each designed to provide you with business critical intelligence which is easy to share with your colleagues.

Lead Analysts:

  • Julian Jest, Research Analyst, Handsets & Devices, Informa Telecoms & Media
  • Malik Saadi, Principal Analyst, Handsets & Devices, Informa Telecoms & Media
  • David McQueen, Principal Analyst, Handsets & Devices, Informa Telecoms & Media
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Powerpoint files

Affordable Handsets: Market Overview (23 slides)

  • Definition of affordable handsets and target market by segment
  • Value-cost matrices for affordable handsets
  • Mobile technology experience curves
  • Market and technology KPIs for affordable handset vendors
  • Industrial design of affordable handsets
  • Handset market financial health

Affordable Handsets: OS and Third-Party Reference Design (43 slides)

  • Market dynamics
  • Suitability of OSs and their application stores for affordable handsets
  • Firefox, Tizen, Windows Phone and Android for affordable handsets
  • An overview of third-party reference design
  • MediaTek, Qualcomm and Intel: Third-party reference design strategy

Affordable Handsets: Market opportunities and development (33 slides)

  • Benefits and implications of white-label affordable handsets
  • Mobile operator deployment of white-label devices
  • Suitability of markets for affordable handsets
  • Case study: ZTE's development in the affordable handset market
  • Market development
  • Devices rated: Micro, Aspiring, Challenger and Established brands
  • Forecasts
  • Conclusions and recommendations

Excel files

Appendix Reference Design Processors

  • Reference Design Processors

Appendix List of Key Assembler Vendors

  • Micro-brand assemblers
  • Aspiring-brand assemblers
  • Challenger assemblers

Appendix Affordable Handset Definitions 2013

  • Technology & Hardware
  • Features
  • Core applications
  • Addressable market
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