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« The Phonebook 2016 Edition is Released | Main | Are We Near 'Peak Screen Size' for Smartphone Screen Growth? Is 6 Inches Too Big? »

January 02, 2017



Tomi, maybe Hans Rossling's infographics can be an inspiration?


@Tomi: any phone model sold over 10mio is a thing?

What should Nokia (HMD) do to have such model(s) in 2017?
Will they be capable to deliver in such volume?

Should HMD go for the median, full range or premium?

Abdul Muis


I think you're wrong on the phone or the price of the phone. For US$ 193....

If I want Samsung, For US$ 193, around september 2015, I can get:
1. Samsung Galaxy J5 - 5.0" screen, 13MP/5MP camera, b/g/n wifi, 4G,
2. or perhaps Samsung Galaxy J2 - 4.7" screen, 5MP/2MP camera, b/g/n wifi, 4G

If I want Xiaomi, I'm in India/China, or perhaps in other part of the world and buying the grey import market phone, september 2015, I can get:
1. Xiaomi Redmi 2 - 4.7", 8MP/2MP, b/g/n wifi, 4G
2. Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime - 4.7", 8MP/2MP, b/g/n wifi, 4G

Or Huawei, in September 2015, I can get
1. Huawei Honor 4 Play about US$120 when released in late 2014 - 5" screen, 8MP/2MP, b/g/n wifi, 4G
2. Huawei Honor 4C - 5", 13MP/5MP, b/g/n, 3G
3. Huawei Y625 - 5", 8MP/2MP, b/g/n, 3G

On Asus, For US$#193, September 2015, I can get
1. Asus Zenfone 2E, about US$150 - 5", 8MP/2MP, b/g/n, 4G
2. Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500CL - 5", 8MP/2MP, b/g/n, 4G

All the price I write here is FULL PRICE / UNSUBSIDIZED.

So, If you insisting on the US$193, I think the phone would be 4.7"-5" in size, have wifi 2.4GHz (b/g/n), perhaps have 4G or perhaps not.

Abdul Muis


I think all android phone have wifi. Samsung Galaxy J1, the cheapest samsung phone that were android, that were available in Q1 2015, priced around US$120 (4G version is US$130), also have wifi.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Abdul

Perhaps I was not clear. The phone I described is the median by specs, such a phone does not exist in reality. One year and 14 months ago the median phone was not a smartphone, it was a featurephone and the average price even then was well below 193, it was around 150 dollars. The real phone you would look at was more in line with a Nokia Asha at that time.

But today yes, if you spend 193 dollars you'll get a pretty nice mid-specs Android. That is not what is the median phone in use. The median phone in use if going strictly by the exact mid-point of all phones is as I described.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Abdul Muis


All the phone I wrote above is released before september 2015, and priced around US$193 or bellow US$193 at the launched time, which is BEFORE september 2015....

In early 2014, the latest generation of nokia asha, which won't have successor, were sold around US$60-100. If it's still available in september 2015 the priced will be even lower.

The latest feature phone in H2 2015 by Nokia have a street price around US$30-40.

Tomi T Ahonen


I hear you. You didn't listen to me. There is no such phone as I describe, it is a mathematical amalgamation. The EXACT same argument you use, could be used for phones from Japan, that they have featurephones that have NFC, 4G, WiFi, GPS and 16mp cameras, are waterproof. Because of the vast difference in the international markets - in India most phones are dual SIM for example, but in Europe most phones are not - we can't have the exact specs of what I described.

BUT if you are a DESIGNER, or advertiser, media, etc - then if you want to design your service to work on 'more than half of all phones' then these specs I outline give you that ability today. It can be 3G, does not need to be a 2.5G phone but you can't plan your service for 4G and hope to get to half of all pockets. It can be a touch screen phone yes for the first time now in 2016, but then it cannot be a phablet-sized screen, it has to be a small touch-screen phone.

There is no phone like I described and if you take a major market where the planet's phones are the cheapest (ie India) and hugely competitive, then of course you'll find 'better' phones at the price points that I describe. Now go to Latin America and try the same, they have much more controlled markets, far less competition and the markets beyond Brazil and Mexico are far smaller meaning their local prices tend to be significantly higher simply because of the distribution matters etc.

I can't help you with the truth that the exact mathematics produces a phone that doesn't exist and that a 'better' phone is (or had been) available. People do not buy that phone. In 2015 when you describe the world, the most-sold phones were still featurephones. BUT then, the featurephones most close to the median - would be closer to those Japanese phones than the by-then-dead Asha phones. I used the Asha example to illustrate to most of our readers that there are/were featurephones that were almost identical to lower-end Android smartphones by specs.

Again, there is no phone such as I describe. BUT the global median specs meet this imaginary phone I described. If you are a designer and prepare your app or service or ad or coupon or mobile wallet etc to work on '3G Touch Screen Bluetooth 3mp camera on 3.5 inch screen size' - you are SAFE that half of all phones in the world - including some featurephones - will work on that service by the performance and specs of that design. If you design for a 4G phone with WiFi, NFC, 5 inch screen and 8mp camera, you will with each item exclude parts of the phone population and end up with something closer to 10% of all phones than 51%. This is the point of this analysis and article. I am certain you agree, that even in India it would be foolish today to release a service running on specs you listed like Xiaomi Redmi 2 - 4.7", 8MP/2MP, b/g/n wifi, 4G. NONE of those specs meet half of India population today, not even close to half.

I hope that makes sense.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Abdul Muis


About the phone specs... I agree, and think what you said is make sense. I also agree that if we line up all the phone that were used in 2016, the median will be a very low specs android phone with small screen.

My confusion (I quote my self) "I think you're wrong on the phone or the price of the phone." .... I think the median price is too high. I somehow think you accidentally put '1', and the median price should be $93.

Thank you.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Abdul

No actually YOU are right haha. Now that you mention it, I did not talk about median PRICE, I used the ASP from the Phone Book which of course distorts this issue now, because the OTHER stats were all median but the price was average (high prices distort the average). I will go correct the blog. I should have used the price pyramid also in the Phone Book (although it reflects current prices) and the median price is below 149 dollars (the price bracket is 40 to 149 but the cut-off point would be near the top, so probably current median price is around 140 dollars and was maybe around 120 dollars fourteen months ago)

I'll go change the blog and credit you of course for spotting the discrepancy. Thanks. Of course if I write a blog talking about the differences of 'average' and 'median' it would be then have to be that precise blog where I myself make that very same mistake haha.. Thanks Abdul.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Abdul Muis


About price.... $120 make sense. But I'm surprised that the median were going up. I thought when the market were saturated, and the device life is longer, the median will go down.

One more thing.... About wifi.
I believe ALL (100%) of Android device have Wifi, and MOST high end feature phone also have wifi. Why the median phone doesn't have wifi, if both high end feature phone or cheap android phone have wifi. Are you mixing Wifi usage (whether the user use wifi or cellular data only) with Wifi capable (have wifi capability) device?


Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Abdul

Median AND average price are going up because of the transition from dumbphones to smartphones. It was observed several years ago (I reported it already in the 2014 edition of the Phone Book and other phone industry experts have also reported the prices going up for the whole industry).

As to WiFi, most Android phones do have WiFi but all do not, its exactly the lowest-end phones that do not. That is where the cross-over is and in the next Phone Book we'll see WiFi has crossed the line to be also included in more than 50% of all phones in use. Already currently new phones sold are majority WiFi yes. Its only a point of time.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Everybody

To all in the thread, note that I have added an update to the blog. David Doherty has created an infographic summarizing main points of the median phone. An excellent simple infographic that is now on the top of the blog essentially telling the whole story in one picture..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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