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Smartphones for all

Smartphones have now passed the 10-million mark in South Africa, thanks to the arrival of low-cost high-end devices. And more are on their way. This quick guide to affordable smartphones some here, some to come offers a clue to the smart explosion.

Research by World Wide Worx shows that smartphones have now passed the 10-million mark in South Africa, largely thanks to the growing availability of lower-cost devices packed with high-end features.

This quick guide provided by shows just how wide the range is of low-cost smartphones on the market and how wide their functionality. Some have already arrived in South Africa, and some are on their way. There is little doubt, however, that the smartphone market is evolving so rapidly at both the low-cost and high-cost ends, that there will eventually be a smartphone to suit most budgets.

HTC Desire C

Stepping in to replace the affordable Wildfire S, the Desire C shows just how far budget smartphones have come in recent years. You get a 600MHz processor, 512MB of RAM and a decent sized 3.5 inch touchscreen display. You also get a five megapixel camera, Beats Audio technology and the excellent build quality that comes with any HTC handset. In terms of software the Desire C is packing Android 4.0 with HTC`s own Sense interface placed on top, so it should be as functional as many models which are several times more expensive. Huawei Ascend G300

The Ascend G300 brings big screen fun to the lower end of the smartphone market, with its four inch panel squeezing in 480×800 pixels to give it a clear, crisp resolution. A 1GHz processor means that it is also fairly nippy, while Android 2.3.6 is preinstalled with Huawei saying that there will be an update that introduces Android 4.0 further down the line. The styling of the phone is not quite in the same league as the Desire C, but it does feature quality materials and does not feel cheap or plasticy, as can be a problem with affordable models.

LG Optimus L3

One of the more affordable smartphones even by the standards of this list, the Optimus L3 from LG comes with a 3.2 inch touchscreen display, an 800MHz processor and a three megapixel camera on the rear. Its aesthetics echo both the iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S ranges, so you get a reasonably fashionable handset without the usual associated cost. Meanwhile the Android 2.3 operating system gives you access to all of the normal services, from web browsing and messaging to GPS navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. Nokia Lumia 610

This is the first phone in the list which does not use the Android operating system, which is a testament to the flexibility and ubiquity of Google`s platform. Instead Nokia has opted to combine the Lumia 610 with the Windows Phone operating system, making only a couple of minor sacrifices to bring down the price of the handset. An 800MHz processor, 3.7 inch display and well made chassis bring the phone together nicely, with a five megapixel camera taking basic snaps. The usability and power of the Windows Phone platform will be a real boon for people who want to avoid the slightly more complicated Android experience. BlackBerry Curve 9320

The power and flexibility of the BlackBerry 7 operating system is usually found on high end handsets, but the Curve 9320 shows that you do not need to spend much to enjoy excellent messaging features. Web access, media playback and all the usual smartphone bells and whistles reside on this dinky BlackBerry phone, while the inclusion of a full QWERTY keypad means that it is quick to type and text. The addition of FM radio means it carries the one feature that is most demanded on a phone across the African continent.

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