Startup opportunity: How to Build Your Own Smartphone – for $70


In recent times, we have highlighted opportunities in design and development of light-apps, mobile Apps and voice based technologies in the Smartphone industry. Here is another interesting idea for entrepreneurs: why not develop your own branded smartphone? It apparently costs only $70 to design and make small batches of smartphones!

Check out this video from Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter, Liza Lin on her experience in ‘creating’ a smartphone by sourcing parts and design from vendors in China.  The WSJ 1 model cost $70 and in the video, Liza Lin explains why the smartphone market is so tough. Take a journey to see how, with the help of Shenzhen’s ready to go supply chain.

So, how did the WSJ experiment get started? According to Liza Lin: “We are looking for a way to tell the story of Shenzhen and the Pearl River Delta, which is pretty much the area that makes all the smartphones in the world. And the Asia editor came up, and he’s like, “Why don’t you guys make a smartphone?” And that was when we were like, “What? OK.” So a colleague of mine made some calls to Shenzhen, we looked on Alibaba.com, found a couple, narrowed it down and that was it, we went down.”

(video credit WSJ)

NPR’s marketplace builds on this story further

The $600 to $800 price tag on the latest Apple or Samsung smartphone could create some serious sticker shock, especially compared to the much cheaper models from Chinese competitors. Chinese smartphone brands from the Pearl River Delta region and the city of Shenzhen are gaining market share fast. They can contract with manufacturers in Shenzhen who are already tapped into the region’s vast smartphone supply chain and pump out low-cost phones under their own brands, no designing or engineering necessary. The Wall Street Journal went to Shenzehn to find out what it would take to make their own smartphone brand. Wall Street Journal reporter, Liza Lin, talked to Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to about how she and some of her colleagues created their smartphone, the WSJ 1, for just $70. The following is an edited version of their conversation.

Bottomline: WSJ makes a simple but powerful argument: If a team of reporters from WSJ can knock up a smartphone for $70, smart innovators and entrepreneurs can be running circles around Samsung, Apple and the big guys!


Check out other articles on smartphone opportunities for Startups and entrepreneurs

Other articles

  • Why Are So Many Chinese Phone Brands Now in India? Around six to seven years ago, Chinese smartphone brands were not very active in India, but today, this no longer seems to be the case. According to Counterpoint Research, India has pipped America to become the second largest smartphone market on the planet. This has been accompanied, if not helped, by a steady influx of Chinese brands to India, which has happened for a variety of reasons.
  • Indians warm to Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, pushing Chinese brands to 51 per cent of market – Chinese smartphones are conquering India, with Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi together making up more than half of the country’s sales in the first three months of the year, a tremendous jump from a mere 15 per cent a year earlier, according to a report by India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra).
  • Chinese mobile phone-makers storm India – CNBC – Not too long back Indian brands like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava were celebrating their success in giving global companies such as Samsung and Nokia a run for their money with their cheap phones thanks to imports from China. Now some of those very Chinese manufacturers, who helped these brands make inroads into India’s more than $14 billion mobile phone market, are competing with them on their home soil.

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