Low Cost Devices? Why?

Xmas_Miser_©gorman_editSo its time for another rant. Reading all the media exposure that the ever lower prices for Android devices is getting, well its caught my interest.


I dont understand it, I use my smartphone to securely communicate. At least thats what I hope I am doing.

I don’t want my private emails compromised. I do my banking on the phone. I order stuff. I track shipments. You get the picture, I want to be ensured the privacy of these communications.

So why would I buy a really cheap device? Would I buy a car without some of the features I’ve grown to depend on just so I could save a few bucks? Or would I maybe forgo my 3rd or fourth daily Starbucks so I could afford to buy what I really need, want and deserve?

I guess in a round-a-bout way I am trying to say…is there really a demand for cheap devices or is this just a ploy to undermine a company that refuses to compromise some of the features, no, necessities that a smartphone should have?


Love the outdoors, animals and repurposing old stuff

  • ray689

    There is a difference with just low cost for the sake of low cost and good value for your money. For example, the Moto E selling for $129 has very crucial features missing like a front camera for example. Then you look at the Z3 selling for $190 which is a 5 inch device which can hold up to many of the high end devices. Now that’s value for your money and not just a cheap device for the sake of being cheap.

  • nnik

    That’s my point Ray, I suppose I should have been more clear

    • ray689

      Yes I know and I was agreeing with you.

  • Gnomesane

    Unfortunately I don’t think people equate value in their phones like their cars. It’s still Brand Oriented though. People see the pricetag and that it has “Android” and think the experience will the same as on a pricier HTC or Samsung, imo. Which is kinda hilarious as so many Android users blather on and on ad nauseum about ‘Specs’.

    With the Z3, as Ray stated, you get a great balance of hardware with BlackBerry 10, and high value for your dollars spent. Hopefully enough people in Indonesia (and soon beyond) realize that and reach for a BlackBerry!

    • Gnomesane- I can’t wait until the word of mouth and reviews start spreading as so many people get their hands on BB10 and BB handsets. It’s like a wave crashing on the beach; the wave curls and crashes in the water, but then all that water rolls up on the beach and washes away your sand castle. Well, the wave crashing is all the sales of the Z3 and the water rolling up is all the reviews, word of mouth, articles, etc that will ruin the sand castles that crApple, Samsung, HTC, etc have built.

  • ital1

    Nik, at first I misread the intentions of your post as I almost thought you were arguing against the Z3. I am amazed at what they have provided for under $200 and North Americans need to be a little less myopic and realize that not everyone in the world has close to $1,000 to spend every year on a phone. For what this phone delivers for the price, it will be tough to beat; hopefully more people will come to appreciate BB10 because of it. If at the very least it halts the migration of users and creates an update cycle for legacy users, then it would still be a success.

    • Gnomesane

      I’m blown away by some of the data plans available to Indonesians: 96GB a year, eg! Not only do they have exclusive access to the Z3, their data plans are to die for (up here in Canada).

      • ital1

        I believe this was done to mitigate the loss of data compression that comes with BIS. I’ve made this argument several times; to get people to migrate you need to compensate for the loss of BIS via appropriate data allowances. This was a very smart move and I don’t doubt BlackBerry helped negotiate those data plans.

  • Gnomesane

    Heh, I look forward to BlackBerry 10 getting the attention and respect it deserves as well. It’s unquestionably a matter of perception and John Chen has been doing a great job so far at changing perceptions. Everyone also seems to forget that it took Apple and Google (and now Microsoft) several years to really hit a critical mass in sales and refine their respective OSes. I wonder how many Android users reminisce about the Gingerbread days, eg?

    QUICK true story: Great friend of mine, his teen daughter and he were ending their contract and eligible for new phones back in January. He wanted the Z10 based on seeing me use mine (he had an older Samsung). His daughter said “Dad, nobody uses BlackBerry anymore!”, but he got one anyway; she got an HTC One (which has a nice build as far as Android phones go). Saw him last week and he wanted to let me know that his daughter was complaining about her phone and said that his (Z10) was much better and she wanted one! (Or maybe a Z30, who knows).

    • Ha ha! Nice story!

    • Trev

      That’s one of the many things I hated about Android but doesn’t get talked about much — every Android I’ve used, or that my friends and family have used, have gotten painfully slow over time. It’s the same case whether they’ve installed 0 apps or 100 apps.

      I can say with 100% certainty than neither my Z10 nor Z30 have gotten any slower than the day I got them. Arguably, with some leaks and some official OS upgrades I’d say they’re running a bit faster.

      …And then these same people will trade their now “old” and slow Android in for a new one. Why? From what I’ve been told when I’ve asked: “Well they have better hardware than the old one.” [facepalm]

      As for the cheap/low-priced phone market:
      I don’t complain too much about the cost of modern smartphones. This is a device that I carry with me on a daily basis for 2 years, give or take. I rely on this device to keep in contact with my friends and family, and sometimes clients. It’s replaced my home line. This device is also capable of accessing the internet, often at the same speed as my cable internet and $700 PC and $1,300 Macbook Pro. I find it hard for me to spend the money on those products then complain about spending $500 on their smaller, more durable, more connected counterpart.

      That said, if I could spend 1/2 the price for a similar experience to that of either of my BB10 devices, I would in a heartbeat — long, long, long before I would spend that kind of money on a device that will undoubtedly turn into a slugDroid.

      • Hey Trev. I agree on the significance of these handheld devices. And of course I agree on getting a high quality device for the best price you can. I just want to get off the “2 year” ferris wheel. I’m hoping my Q10 will be zinging along for a few years and with OS upgrades, I will still be enjoying it. I hate the disposable economy we have in the U.S.

        • ray689

          I wouldn’t call it truly disposable income. A stat I read today says there is 2 credit cards for every person in the US. That is a lot of debt…factor in the government borrowing like there’s no tomorrow and the outcome can’t be good.

          • Hey Ray. I agree with your comments, but I was talking about a “disposable economy” where we use something for a while and toss it out for the new thing, even though the old thing still worked. Or just the fact that things can’t be fixed anymore, when they stop working, they’re tossed. But my main point is I’d like to see everyone get more time out of their handsets. I like Trev’s comments below about buying phones separately and then paying as you go, but you could still get a discount on service if you enter into a contract. There could still be contracts, they just wouldn’t include the price of the device.

        • Trev

          What I think would be best for the consumers in the US would be to see a dramatic rise in Pay-As-You-Go users. Technically, this is what I have with Verizon since I haven’t had a contract in a few years. I’m one of those $30 Unlimited Data holdouts.

          With an increase of PAYG users, I think we would see more competitive pricing on new smartphones. As of now, Verizon doesn’t really discount the prices on the full, non-subsidized prices. We would also see more low-end Androids devices and create a more appealing market for a Z3-like device (maybe a Z3 with LTE capabilities).

          What I am unsure about however is what this would do to service costs. I suspect this would cause an instability due to not having their users tied in for 2 years, allowing the providers to raise or lower the costs of data/voice/messaging more easily at will.

          Ultimately this would shake up the customer loyalty with the big providers, as it’s much better to have a customer locked in for 2 years, as opposed to a month at a time, or possibly having customers switching carriers to follow sales and promotions. (Terrible sentence structure. My English professors would be most displeased! :P )
          That’s not to say the providers won’t make money, they just may not make it as steadily as they’d like and I doubt they’d like to Play Ball with this method.

          • Hey Trev. I like your comments and made a reply to them in my reply to Ray above…

  • Gnomesane

    ^^^ Sorry James, I should have hit reply on your post, the above was in response to you! ;)

    • No worries, man. I kind of thought it might be. Good stuff.