Mobile Future

Smartphones Meet Smart Prices

When AT&T and Apple debuted the original 2G iPhone on July 1, 2007, the most expensive 8GB model cost a whopping $599. Just three short years later, the most sophisticated 32GB iPhone 4 is available for $299, while consumers can snag the 8GB 3GS model for $99. There’s no denying that increasingly sophisticated operating systems combined with significant price decreases equals a consumer-friendly marketplace, and Americans have responded to these positive trends with insatiable demand.

But perhaps what is most exciting is that the price of today’s most basic iPhone is not the floor as far as smartphones are concerned. In fact, manufacturers are rolling out smart devices for as low as $70—a far cry from the $599 number that seemed justifiable in the industry such a short time ago.

For example, last week Qualcomm focused a sizable portion of its Uplinq annual developer conference on Brew MP software designed to proliferate mass-market smartphones. Qualcomm anticipates the technology will have massive implications in both domestic and international markets, driving the cost of multiple smartphones well below $100 when models running on Brew MP software are released either later this year or by early 2011.

These models will join other newcomers—like Nokia’s Nuron and E73 Model, which are available through T-Mobile and cost around $70 each—in a new family of smartphones that reach broader demographics and bring these devices’ life-changing capabilities to an increased number of consumers. For more information, check out “The Race to the $70 Smartphone” in Forbes.