How the Smartphone Landscape is Changing


When people in America and Europe think of smartphones, devices like the iPhone are usually the first that come to mind. This incredibly capable device as well as phones like the Samsung Galaxy S6 set the standard for the most capable phones in the world. But there are hundreds of smartphone models available these days, and many at price points that will likely surprise you.

Smartphone Defined

The definition of a smartphone is a cellular phone that includes a web browser and has the ability to run freestanding cellphone applications or apps. Such phones often have touch-sensitive screens, and run on one of the several leading operating systems including:

iOS (from Apple)
• Android (from Google)
• Windows Phone (from Microsoft/Nokia)

The leader in the space in terms of the number of phones supported is Android, followed by iOS. But Windows Phone is getting a bit of traction, especially in the developing world where inexpensive smartphones using the platform are slowly growing in penetration and popularity.


Micromax A100 – Approx $160

Nokia X2

Nokia X2-Approx $99

Smartphone Penetration
Globally, smartphone penetration is growing rapidly, and is expected to continue to do so, albeit at a gradually slowing rate as the base gets larger. As smartphone penetration begins to max out in the developed world, countries like India, Brazil and China are driving an increasing proportion of growth. BI Intelligence published the following statistics and estimates for smartphone penetrations in eight leading markets. The mix of developed and developing countries will give you a sense of the growing dominance of smartphones globally.

Smartphone Penetration 2

Smartphone Pricing

While top of the line smartphones routinely sell for more than $600 – even more than $1000 in some parts of the world — a growing number of smartphones are priced far lower, and are accounting for much of the global category growth. In developing countries, there are more than 2 dozen models available at less than $200, and in January of 2015, Nokia/Microsoft introduced a $29 smartphone.


Nokia 215 – Approx $29

Mozilla has promised a phone this year for less than $25. So clearly the market is changing and has changed markedly.

Smartphones and Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing took place before smartphones, and continues to be possible on so-called feature phones, but smartphones have opened up a world of opportunities for consumer engagement from display and video advertising to branded apps. The majority of major brands are now availing themselves of mobile marketing opps in both developing and developed markets. And as affordable mobile plans bring internet connectivity and apps to even more people, the marketing dollar shift to mobile will surely accelerate.

Share Button