Cheap Never Looked So Good: Entry Level Handsets at CTIA
It’s a little hard to pay attention to phones that cost less than $50 when this year’s CTIA show floor abounds with $400 handsets sporting touch-panel flashiness and GPS capability. But dealers can do well to give the lower price points a little spotlight. “Entry level phones are still a big segment of the market,” says UT Starcom’s Joan Cear. “And the good news is they’re not big and clunky anymore.”
Indeed, the entry level phones coming out in 2007 look as slim, sleek and soft-edged as their high-priced design influences. UT Starcom is introducing the CDM 7026 and the CDM 7076, inexpensive options that still carry Bluetooth capability and basic cameras. UT Starcom’s had a lot of success this year with a handset nicknamed “the easy phone,” the PN300, carried by Verizon. “It doesn’t even have a camera, but the buttons are big and there’s an easy-to-read screen,” says Cear, who adds that simple phones are popular with seniors.
Sony Ericsson’s hot new entry level handset is the silver and black Z550, due out in Q2 and expected to retail for under $30. “It’s got sophisticated lines,” says Sony Ericsson’s Stephen Sneeden. “It’s for people who want to look good, but don’t want to spend a lot of money doing it. This doesn’t look bad at all sitting on a table in a meeting.”