Android and Emerging Markets

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Digitimes has an article that predicts that a large number of entry level Android smartphones will be sold this year…

"Global smartphone sales will hike 54.5% from 2010 to 445 million units in 2011, of which 165 million or 37.1% will be Android models"

More interestingly…

"China- and Taiwan-based design houses’ standard chip solutions that will facilitate minor and white-box vendors’ launch of inexpensive models mostly in emerging markets."

What does this mean for developers? First of all, I think it will mean a deepening of Android’s inability to provide a viable ecosystem for paid apps. I think emerging markets and low-end users won’t be interested in buying apps. This means using more innovative models such as freemium or developing for other non-revenue based reasons.

However, emerging markets will provide opportunities for new types of app. In many of these countries, the mobile phone is the only access to the Internet, the sole method of communication and can become the only method of paying people. There are opportunities in all these areas. Furthermore, there are some opportunuties in mHealth to improve the lives of large numbers of people.

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