Smartphone clones redefine handset market

Smartphone clones such as the “BlueBerry” are helping to redefine the low-cost handset segment as viable alternatives to higher-priced devices.

“There is [certainly] considerable fanfare and interest around the latest iPhone and Android phones from Apple, HTC and Motorola,” ABI Research senior analyst Jake Saunders told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“[However], ‘White Box’ or ‘Shanzai’ handset manufacturers are rapidly reshaping the low-cost handset segment as they redefine the ‘look and feel’ of [such devices].”

According to Saunders, many of the low-cost handset “brands” such as the “BlueBerry” handset “sail pretty close” to trademark infringement.

“While it has ‘Bold’ looks, RIM definitely does not manufacture it,” said Saunders.  

“These handsets have very localized distribution, lack the full functions of the originals and cater to end-users who, while they may not have deep pockets, do aspire to be smartphone users.”

Nevertheless, the limited-function handsets, along with other low-cost models, are expected to notch up at least 219 million sales in 2010.