I’ve written about China’s powerful and peculiar smartphone market a number of times now. 2014 may or may not have been the year of the Chinese Android smartphone; Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility was certainly big news, and the OnePlus One easily took the crown as most polarizing device of the year.
And yet here we are in mid-2015, and the invasion of Chinese smartphones—the ones made by Chinese companies, not just manufactured in China—doesn’t seem to have started yet. There are a few available options for purchase (dragon2knight would probably know more about them than me) but the bigger companies like Xiaomi and Meizu have yet to make inroads into Western markets.
Today I’ve cobbled together some links to help us figure this out.
Insight #1: China doesn’t need US.
The unfortunate fact is that Chinese phone makers are doing just fine in their home market. VentureBeat reported this week that China now has more than twice the number of 4G users as the United States. If you include 3G users that number balloons to 695 million. And the total Chinese mobile user base? 1.29 billion.
Insight #2: Chinese Smartphone users are spoiled for choice.
Android Authority did a nice video comparison of three midrange devices:
If you’re able to find one, the Lenovo and Elephone seem to support at least some North American LTE bands.
Insight #3: Using a smartphone in China probably sucks.
Because the Internet, specifically the Chinese Internet.
It’s not just the heavy hand of government censorship, as XDA’s Matthew Brack found out during a recent trip to Shenzhen. As soon as he landed and tried to access the airport’s WiFi network, an .apk file started downloaded without his consent. Checking the permissions on this new app revealed that it wanted, among other things, unfettered access to his camera. He immediately deleted the app and waited until he got to his hotel. Hopefully there wasn’t a similar .apk waiting for him there.
Insight #4: Smartphone users in Shenzhen are really spoiled for choice.
I’ve saved the best for last… Cory Doctorow found this brief documentary about the more weird and wonderful handsets that Shenzhen has to offer:
Maybe we should all start spitballing the HoFo Phone…! 😎