Tech - Proliferation, panels and prices!

We have been seeing a proliferation of Android versions, manufacturer and network UI over the Android and various form factors. Now add to this potent mix, different kinds of screens.

The screen in a phone or a tablet is one of the most expensive components in the device. If you read the fine print, there are differences between various models of phones. Until now, these differences were in the processor and memory. Now, with a wide of variety of consumer segments, price points and form factors, there are different options being offered for screens as well. It looks like, AMOLED screens are short in supply while there are plenty of LCD screens available to manufacturers. I am not surprised given the explosion in sales of smart phones and tablets. And, we haven't seen the sales of these devices plateau yet.

Take the case of the Samsung Galaxy S I9000. This phone was launched around 6 months ago in India at prices ranging from Rs 28,000 - 30,000 (600 USD). We have two more models being launched in the same line up and the prices of the new models are substantially lesser than Galaxy S. They are the Samsung Galaxy Ace at Rs 15,000 (330 USD) and Samsung Galaxy S LCD I9003 at Rs 20,000 (450 USD). The key difference being the screen. While the Galaxy S has the Super AMOLED, the new models are coming with TFT or LCD screens. Pretty much all the other features of these phones are the same. These phones may be cheaper, but these screens may not be as power efficient or clear as the Super AMOLED. However for most consumers, these differences may not matter much. 

I think, this move Samsung is now going to put enormous pressure on the other key Android phone manufacturers like Dell, HTC and LG. For the consumer, it will be better as the intense competition will further drive down the prices. However, consumers will have to carefully go through the features of the phone before buying one. As they say, "buyer beware", more so in case you are planning to buy Android phones.

If you are planning to buy a smart phone, the key features to look out for are
Processor - 1 Ghz and above
Memory - 512 MB and above
Android Version - 2.2 and above
Screen - 3.5" and above
Screen type - LCD or AMOLED
Other features - GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3G, good battery life

If you can, wait for 6-12 months before you change your phone.


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