CNN’s tech site has a great, and lengthy, article about why they believe this upcoming year will be the year that Android-powered smartphones REALLY take off. Android — and really, smartphones in general — have seen remarkable growth in the last 12 months, but CNN says “Baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
What is driving this huge explosion? A one/two punch that is made up of improving wireless infrastructure and falling hardware prices. We’ve seen the improvement of wireless carriers’ data networks as every carrier has either launched, expanded, or is planning the launch of a 4G network in the near future. As these networks continue to improve, they pave the way for the more advanced phones to do more and more with the hardware that the manufacturers are providing us.
And that is the second big factor in the upcoming explosion: cheaper hardware. At the beginning of 2010, a middle-road smartphone of the Android variety was running just under $200. But as we recently reported, several chip manufacturers are aiming for lower prices on better chips, and we’re hearing now that mid-range Android smartphones within the next 3-6 months will be dropping with suggested retail prices of $75-100, and high-end phones hitting that price point around a year from that.
CNN goes on to say that at those prices, people may opt more and more for unsubsidized phones instead of signing the two-year contracts. They theorize that this will take some of the power from the carriers, forcing them to fight for their customers. It’s a sound theory, but whether or not that pans out, lower prices on Android smartphones and more powerful networks will lead to nothing but good things for consumers. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out in the upcoming year, which is likely to be huge for Android.