One of the main factors in the growth of Android phone shipments in 2011 is that numerous of chip manufacturers are competing to launch low-priced reference turnkey solutions, allowing for a large number of unlocked handsets with no carrier subsidies to reach the market at retail prices of less than US$150 or even US$100, creating a virtual stampede for market share in emerging markets. Shipments of budget Android phones priced at around the US$150 mark numbered just 2.5-3 million units in 2010, the vast majority of which were split between ZTE and Huawei.
ZTE and Huawei will continue to expand their low price Android phone business throughout 2011. At the same time, the legions of China-based local mobile brands and white box manufacturers, India-based mobile phone brands, channels/brands from other emerging markets, and Taiwan-based ODM manufacturers, will also invest substantially in R&D for such products or actively seek out contract manufacturers. The upshot of this will be that shipments of sub-US$150 Android handsets will grow to more than 20 million units.