With the price of entry-level and mid-range smartphones lowering, the criteria for those phones is also changing. So far, Korean handset makers like Samsung and LG Electronics have released smartphones in the price range of 500,000 to 600,000 won (US$486-583) as mid to low-range phones. However, the pricing criteria are further lowering, as Sony, Acer, and other foreign firms are introducing their mid to low-end smartphones to the Korean market one after another.
According to industry sources on July 20, foreign smartphone manufacturers such as Sony and Taiwan-based Acer and Asus entered the local mid to low-cost smartphone market with the launch of affordable smartphones. Sony rolled out the Xperia E1 priced at 165,000 won (US$160) through KT, touting the 3G model as a smartphone especially designed for listening to music.
Acer recently released the Liquid Z5 through KT. The 3G model is equipped with a 5-inch screen, a 1.3 GHz quad core processor, and 1 GB RAM. The launch price of the new handset is 259,600 won (US$252).
Asus also introduced the Fonepad 7 LTE through SK Telecom and KT. The LTE-enabled phone/tablet is sold for 349,000 won (US$339) per unit. Powered by a dual-core Intel processor running at 1.6GHz, the model is fitted with a battery that can make it possible to enjoy latest applications and games nearly all day long thanks to Hyper-Threading technology.
To fight back against foreign smartphone makers' offensives, local handset manufacturers are also leaning towards more affordable 4G smartphones.
LG recently launched the F70 through three mobile carriers. The new LTE-enabled model runs Android 4.4 KitKat and sports a 4.5-inch IPS display, a 1.2 GHz quad core processor, and a 2,440 mAh removable battery. The low-end and mid-range device can be purchased for 279,400 won (US$271).