It’s a segment that Nokia and Samsung know plenty about already and now HTC is getting in on the low-cost smartphone market.
HTC Wednesday released the Desire 200, an Android touchscreen handset priced around $167, well below that of the company’s flagship HTC One, which sells for $600 or $200 on contract.
Along with the announcement of the HTC One Mini—a smaller, likely less-expensive version of the One—it appears that HTC is seeing the growth near the bottom of the global smartphone market and looking to tap in.
New data from ABI Research suggests the time could be right for cheaper smartphones. The research company found that shipments of sub-$250 smartphones will grow from 259 million in 2013 to 788 million in 2018.
IDC found that smartphones have overtaken “dumb” phones in the first quarter of 2013, with smartphones accounting for 51.6 percent of the 419 million phones shipped worldwide.
The Desire 200 will encounter lots of competition from Nokia, with its low-cost Asha devices, and other big players like Samsung in emerging markets. But its move to introduce a light version of its flagship marks part of a growing trend. Samsung has a “mini” version of its Galaxy S4 due out later this year and Apple is widely rumored to be considering a less-expensive model of the iPhone for release this year.