Smartphones are accounting for an ever expanding portion of the budget for mobile expenses. Enterprises need to prepare, as Samsung has high hopes for strong sales with the launch of its Galaxy Note while Apple is expected to introduce its new iPhone in a few weeks.
In the meantime, Amazon has partnered with Blu to introduce a $50 smartphone that may find an unexpected place in some enterprise budgets. This smartphone’s features aren’t exactly going to turn heads. It has a poor camera, low quality or small screen, GSM-only network compatibility, and Amazon-served ads on the lock screen. But that is not the point as this smartphone will probably not suffice where an employee needs it for an extended period of time. However, it may very well be the ideal loaner for enterprises.
Some employees may only require a phone for one-off business trips and international travel. In these cases, a phone like this could be issued. When an employee is traveling overseas in areas covered by carriers with GSM networks, Amazon’s unlocked smartphone provides great value and flexibility for the dollar. The SIM card could be replaced to work with a local carrier’s network.
Additionally, these phones could be issued as a temporary replacement to employees who have lost or broken their enterprise-owned phones. These phones have just enough power and functionality to meet the needs of the “tide-me-over crowd” to ensure that an employee doesn’t start implementing their own shadow BYOD policy.
The price point of this phone may also put price pressure on Apple. With their iPhone prices now approaching $1000, many consumers are exploring more affordable alternatives. The component costs are falling all the time, and the feature-sets of phones aren’t changing as much from year-to-year. Eventually, Apple will have to compete with these cheaper alternatives.
Time will tell if the Blu phone has the power to make a change in smartphone pricing. In the meantime, enterprises may want to consider adding a few Blu phones to their smartphone inventory, and gauging user reactions to the device to determine if it is a viable option long-term.Tags: unlocked phones