Emerging markets will buy smartphones

Analyst statements can be risky to get behind sometimes, but the latest from Juniper adds up – smartphones aren’t going away and cheap varieties are going to be very big business.

It’s another score, then, for Chinese ZTE which wants to take on all the big boys. It already has already nailed cheap smartphones and is going for the high end, too. ZTE’s covered.

Although traditionally smartphones have been for the wealthy, according to Juniper’s psychic abilities, new to market manufacturers will find their best opportunities lie in the low-end segment.

Developed market consumers are fine with paying through the nose for a phone that can do the stuff we’ve all been hearing about like NFC, 3D and making important life decisions for you. But in emerging markets, feature phones suit the consumer because they are available at lower price points with everything you need.

Just because they are cheap and the uptake is there right now, it doesn’t prove emerging markets prefer them. Smartphones are still attractive and there will be a significant uptake when the right pay model appears. Open source operating systems such as Android will make the transition easier.

It’s an interesting proposal for Nokia, which is firmly planted in the emerging markets. Nokia has a particular strength in selling its devices to India but seems content with what some are already calling “dumbphones”. Battery life is key and will decide which way this goes.

Standard smartphones will “remain robust,” says Juniper. You can still expect the high end fancy models to sell extremely well and we’ll see more of the same integration. Juniper expects gamepads could take off. 

They’re also beginning to transform into different devices, says Juniper, such as tablets and netbooks. 

Altogether, we can expect global smartphone shipments to reach one billion a year in 2016, compared to 302 million in 2010.