$30 smartphones are here—and they’re getting better every day


In the first few days of 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the future of mobile: the smartphone. A computer and phone rolled into one, the iPhone came with revolutionary features for the time, including a 3.5-inch screen that reacted to touch, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a 2-megapixel camera. It cost $500 without a contract.

Last month, in India, I bought a Forme P9 smartphone. It has a 3.5 inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, a 3-megapixel camera, and a host of features the original iPhone didn’t offer, including an extra SIM slot, FM radio, an app store, and expandable memory. It costs $32. In the three weeks since I bought it, the price has dropped another dollar.

In the next three years, between 500 million and 900 million people will start using the internet, reckons McKinsey. The vast majority of them will do it on cheap mobile phones not unlike the one I bought. This is the…

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