Finding the smartphone sweet spot

The smartphone market has always been a bit finicky. Although many U.S. consumers were intrigued by the capabilities smartphones offered, the high price of the devices has so far kept them from being a mass market product.

However, that is rapidly changing. As 3G networks become widespread and device price points drop, the uptake of smartphones is likely to grow dramatically. “There is a hot trend in low-end smartphones,” says Tero Kuittinen, telecom analyst with Avian Securities. “Smartphones have to address different niches such as young consumers. We can’t continue to have a $500 smartphone trend and still drive sales.”

Kuittinen, who has monitored the handset market for a number of years, says that there are stark differences between the U.S. and Europe when it comes to smartphone adoption. For example, in Europe phones must have very high-quality cameras or buyers don’t want them. In the U.S., however, that isn’t the case. In fact, five megapixel cameras have been slow to arrive here.

We think affordable smartphones will be a hot trend in 2008. Here are five smartphones that we think hit the mark in terms of price, features and functionality: Click here for the Slideshow.

Finding the smartphone sweet spot