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What will be the next wave of smartphone hardware disruption?


Cut throat costs and outstanding user experience have allowed Asian smartphone manufacturers to take the world stage. What does it mean for software makers?

The recent rise of Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi has been startling.

Its stratospheric rise towards gaining a real foothold on the global market began towards the end of 2013, when its lowly 2.1% market share rocketed to 5.3% just a year later.

It left some of the largest Western mobile phone manufacturers trembling in its previously monopolized high rise towers.

But to add insult to injury, Xiaomi isn’t the only one causing problems.

A whole host of disruptive Asian mobile companies are emerging, and they want in. Jon Reynolds, the CEO and Co-Founder of keyboard app SwiftKey explains the situation.

“I think there’s huge disruption happening. With the technology ecosystem, disruption can come from anywhere. And I think high roller factories almost felt immune to it… and right now we are seeing more and more companies coming in. Micromax in India and Xiaomi from China.”

One reason that disruptive Asian mobile companies are moving towards gaining a lion’s share of the market is because of their low costs.

“As the cost of manufacturing comes down, the chance for disruption comes in.”

And this is exactly where disruptive Asian mobile companies differ, they pass these saved costs onto the consumer.

The same can’t be said for the likes of Apple, who typically charge three times as much for a handset with achingly similar specifications.

Reynolds sees this disruptive change as a real opportunity for software makers around the world.

“People are after the best experience, and with software now, and the distribution channels that are available- I think the chance is to use mobile phones as an incredible way to distribute very exciting software experiences is going to be a major trend.”

It’s for this reason, that SwiftKey and other manufacturers are looking further afield towards Asian markets.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time in developing markets, looking at these partners to make sure that we are with the winners of the next 3-5 years as well as current winners.”