How low can they go? Try $33 (£20). Yes, you read that right. The K-Touch T619 is a touchscreen smartphone that runs Android for just $33.
Everyone here at Mobile World Congress is talking about connecting "the next billion" users, and this might just be the way to do it. We stopped by the ARM booth to get a quick hands on with the most affordable smartphone yet.
Let's be clear, you shouldn't expect much from the T619. In fact, if you're in the UK (or US) you shouldn't expect anything at all; this is strictly destined for emerging markets like India and China.
The T619 is about as low-end as they come, powered by a single-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A5 CPU made by Spreadtrum. It's thick, it's small, and it's so plasticky you'd think it was a mock-up in your hand. The T619 is running Android 2.3, too, so it's more on par with phones from over four years ago. But $33 (£20)! Did I mention the price yet?
Also on display at the ARM booth was the Yulong Coolpad 8122, a higher-end (relatively) device that will retail for around $65 (£39) on China Mobile. It's packing a more modern MediaTek MT6572 SoC, which is a dual-core 1.3GHz Cortex A7 design. It looked something like a knock-off HTC One, except made entirely from plastic. It felt a bit sprightlier than the T619, but both were pretty slow to react and slow to load.
To put these two phones in perspective, the Firefox OS-powered ZTE Open debuted last year for £60, and that was an incredible deal. The Coolpad 8122 feels snappier and better built than the ZTE Open, while the K-Touch T619 isn't far behind.
One of the big themes at this year's show has been strategies for cornering those invaluable emerging markets in India, China, and South America.
Nokia reps went on and on about "the next billion" and the X line of Android smartphones is squarely aimed at capturing future smartphone users. At Motorola's event, senior vice president Rick Osterloh proclaimed that the days of the $650 (or £550 in the UK) smartphone are over. The race to the bottom is on, and if the $33 (£20) T619 is any indication of where it's going, budget-minded buyers have a lot to look forward to.
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