Sales of smartphones based on newly emerging platforms, including Android One, Firefox OS and Tizen, are expected to increase significantly in 2015.
According to beancounters at Gartner, the ratio of feature phones to total global handset shipments already dropped to 34 percent in the third quarter of 2014 and is expected to dip to as low as 10 percent in 2018.
The narrowing price gap between smartphones and feature phones is the main reason for feature phone subscribers to switch to smartphones.
Microsoft Mobile’s decision to phase out its feature phones has also encouraged handset makers to roll out more Android One-, Firefox- and Tizen-based models, priced from$50-100, to cash in.
Mozilla teamed up with China-based handset makers including TCL, ZTE, Huawei as well as chipset vendor Spreadtrum Communications to form a supply chain for Firefox smartphones.
In cooperation with regional telecom operators, the Firefox supply chain has launched 14 models in 30 markets. Some Firefox models available in the Philippines and India are even priced below US$30.
In reply, Google has been promoting Android One smartphones and with Micromax to promote Android One smartphones in India and chipset vendors Qualcomm and MediaTek and handset vendors HTC, Asustek Computer, Acer and Lenovo to develop next generation Android One phones, which are expected to come in the first half of 2015.
But it faces some competition from Samsung with its first Tizen-based smartphone, the Z1, in early 2015. The Z1 is expected to come with a 4-inch display, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and priced below US$100.