Smartphones Steer Clear of Middle Way
Both these launches are notable even though they represent entirely different ends of the spectrum.
Verizon's new Droid is a top-of-the-line affair, the first smartphone to support both LTE speeds at 5-to-12 Mbit/s download and 2-to-5 Mbit/s upload and a dual-core 1GHz processor. (See Google at the Start of Moto's LTE Race, Moto Mobility Promises 5 LTE Devices for 2011, Moto Ships 250K Xooms But Waits on LTE and CES 2011: Moto's 4G Gadgets Blur Lines.)
The Huawei Impulse, on the other hand, belongs to a new class of entry-level smartphones targeted at price-conscious consumers. It will retail for only US$29.99 on a two-year contract (compared to the Bionic's $299 price tag on contract). (See Android & the Promise of LTE Boost Huawei, Huawei, ZTE: Global Devices With Nice Prices and Huawei Ups Smartphone Target.)
Both of these handsets are significant and are indicative of future trends -- carriers targeting the price sensitive and the price elastic, and smartphones either going all out or just enough. Middle-of-the-road smartphones certainly won't disappear, but they may struggle to find an audience -- something handset makers should pay attention to when choosing which route to take. (See Samsung & Nokia Push Midrange Smartphones and Smartphones to Account for 53% of Sales.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile