Even Smaller Cheaper Computers Running FLOSS

On the one hand folks are talking about $25 smartphones running FLOSS and on the other hand folks say it’s not possible.“Spreadtrum has announced WCDMA and EDGE turnkey reference designs for Firefox OS as well as the industry’s first chipset for US$25 smartphones, the SC6821, that redefines the entry level for smartphones in key growth markets. These solutions are already creating a stir, with global operators such as Telenor, Telkomsel and Indosat, and ecosystem partners such as Polytron, T2Mobile and Thundersoft expressing interest.” Whom are you going to believe? The old guard or the young dogs that are going to do the work?

“Lin explained that currently, the absolute lowest smartphone BOM in China is estimated to be around US$22 (and most are significantly more than that) and that manufacturing costs are highly unlikely to go below US$20 this year, which would be the cost needed to deliver a US$25 smartphone to end users. The cost would need to get to US$15-20 FOB in order to get a selling price of US$25, Lin said.”I think that if this is impossible today, someone will make it possible during 2014. After all, the big dogs have a lock on high-priced smartphones and they can’t touch a little mouse scurrying around in the grass making $25 smartphones. That leaves a huge emerging market with perhaps hundreds of millions of smartphones to be sold. The little guys are not going to turn down an opportunity to avoid deadly competition. They’ll gladly settle for stiff competition. Let them go at it.

See Firefox OS Unleashes the Future of Mobile.

See Is a US$25 smartphone possible?.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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7 Responses to Even Smaller Cheaper Computers Running FLOSS

  1. wolfgang says:

    …sell junk…

    never buy cheap smartphone, only iphone and cheap flip phone ($39 with no plan). did buy cheap tablet. was junker compared to nexus. carriers not offer cheap smart phone, so who cares? they give away high price smart phone with service. can’t use smartphone for anything with tmobile prepay. no digital.

  2. wolfgang says:

    …put bullet…

    you gangsta? maybe just nut job.

  3. wolfgang wrote, “junk is sorry case, lousy screen, touch not work smooth, …

    In a highly competitive market those things don’t sell. Folks do try before they buy in retail. TFA is about Chinese makers producing good stuff for that kind of price. Digitimes doesn’t bother with junk. When they discuss Bill of Material they are talking standards-compliant stuff. Here is an ISO 9001 outfit in China that makes a decent smartphone for $78. They make a million per month. Put in this newer/cheaper chip and they could knock off a huge chunk of that price and still have the quality. Here is the same outfit selling a good smartphone for half the price. Those have the same CPU, just different cases/screens. Do you really think they will sell junk?

  4. oiaohm says:

    wolfgang burn phones for one in USA. 25 dollar model is good for that market. Thinking you would be planing to dump the phone quickly after use in case of burn phone you don’t want to spend a huge ammount on them. The disposable phone market in the USA you have to buy the phone outright.

    Really I always think it so stupid that people say having the cheapest phone will result in being laughed at. The person holding the cheepest phone is most likely the very person who will not think twice about putting a bullet in you because you are laughing at them. Of course there are some people who are not smart enough to value thier life.

  5. wolfgang says:

    …not junk…like p3…

    junk not measured in mips. junk is sorry case, lousy screen, touch not work smooth, wife has iphone 5 was $100 more than free loser phone which could be iphone 4 or Samsung galaxy or htc. service is $120 per month, so difference between super phone and loser phone now is only 3% for two year plan. who would want cheapo $25 phone that make people laugh at user?

    I have Samsung flip phone and pre-pay by minute cost around $5 month air time use for calls and text. use nexus on wifi for internet. phone work in car with Bluetooth and ford sync too. stop at hot spot for internet and nexus. shouldn’t internet and drive anyway.

  6. wolfgang wrote, “no need to mess with junk when you pay the cell company so much money.”

    There’s some truth to that but the cheap thingies are not junk. They run at least 1gHz and some are dual core or better. That’s like P3s and Intel sold a lot of those. No one thought they were junk. The OS they ran, perhaps. Pages with huge burdens of JavaScript might be slow on these small cheap computers but static pages rock. PHP gets done on the server. My ancient smartphone, Galaxy S, from 2010, is not slow. Beast can serve it static pages in the blink of an eye. I can’t tell the difference in page-load time from the smartphone or from any of the other clients in the system. That’s a single 1gHz core. The smartphone sure as Hell is faster taking a picture and putting it on the web compared to the other clients. None of them even have a camera ready to go. So, you have to consider what people do with their personal computers. For many users with many uses, a smartphone is perfect.

    I know the wireless companies do rip people off in many places but many governments and organizations provide wireless access very cheaply. In Africa, for instance, wireless is affordable by many and it is used in place of copper so the Internet is spreading there faster than it did in more wealthy regions. They have learned by our mistake and are skipping some legacy technologies, like big, expensive PCs.

  7. wolfgang says:

    …$25 smartphone…

    not such big deal, I think. I bought cheap tablet a little while ago and found tablet to be interesting but slow and clunky using. then I saw google nexus and it do the same stuff but much better. screen is super high resolution, fast, has gps, good cameras, and such. still sort of cheap at $229, but not like $79 junker. gave junker to grandkid for play around.

    big cost of smartphone is service plan, not hardware. many phones free and even best of best only hundred or so euro. no need to mess with junk when you pay the cell company so much money.

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