A Windows Phone For $50 Or Less From Acer - InformationWeek

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6/17/2009
01:00 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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A Windows Phone For $50 Or Less From Acer

We've known for months that Acer was going to release several smartphones running Windows Mobile, and now they are going to do it for $50 or less. With smartphones coming down in price so much, will feature phones be squeezed out of existence?

We've known for months that Acer was going to release several smartphones running Windows Mobile, and now they are going to do it for $50 or less. With smartphones coming down in price so much, will feature phones be squeezed out of existence?According to WindowsForDevices.com, the first device will have a 2.8" touchscreen, dubbed the C1, and should be $50 or less. Subsequent devices include the L1 which adds a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and the F1 which uses the 1GHz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. No word on the prices of the L1 or F1 yet. All will run the forthcoming WinMo 6.5 OS. You can see more specs and images at the WindowsForDevices site, though you will have to wait a few months to purchase them.

Not even two weeks ago Palm released the Pre, a device with 8GB of onboard memory and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for $199 after a $100 rebate. That looked like a pretty good deal until Apple came out just a few days later with a $99 iPhone with 8GB of memory. Windows Mobile devices tend to have very little memory by comparison, but generally have a microSD slot that would allow you to slip in an 8-16GB card for under $15. The only way you can get cheaper than $50 for a phone is free, which appears to be the only price point a feature phone could have. To get cheaper than that, the carriers would have to get creative, like offering a feature phone and 2-3 months of service for free.

I am sure there will always be some people that just want a basic phone with perhaps some texting capabilities, but more and more are looking at smartphones. Last week I linked to a report that showed 41% of consumers were opting for a smartphone. I'm not sure this report took into account the $50 smartphone, which may be free a year from now. The growth numbers projected in that report might be too low.

Of course, carriers would love it if people purchased more smartphones because they are no better than a feature phone unless you buy a data plan, and that is at least $19.99 or more per month added to your bill. It is probably that fee alone that is preventing smartphone sales from exploding. If carriers would come up with data plans for families that were relatively low bandwidth for apps like Twitter and email and were easy to check your current usage, I'd replace my kid's phones with smartphones in a heartbeat given $50 device pricing. I'm sure I'm not the only one...

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