Thanks to subsidized pricing from cellular carriers, it's easy to forget how expensive smartphones really are. Sure, $200 for a subsidized high-end smartphone isn't chump change, but the full retail price of a Samsung Galaxy S5, for example, is $600.
That's mid-range computer money, which makes sense because smartphones are mid-range computers shrunk to a really small size. Now, imagine having to pay the full cost of a smartphone upfront for any smartphone.
For the iPhone 6, you'd pay $650. A phablet like the Galaxy Note 4 is between $800 and $900. Even an older smartphone like the Galaxy SII is in the $200 range.
You wouldn't be buying a smartphone every two years if that was the case. Of course, I've explained how paying upfront can save you money in the long run, but you need the money first.
In developing countries that don't have subsidized plans and people don't have a lot of cash, buying a smartphone is a big hurdle. That's why many manufacturers offer low-cost smartphones running Android.
Well, Google is throwing its hat in the ring.