Samsung’s REX, their new line of affordable smart feature phones are likely to be smash hits in the growing markets of Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and China.
“Feature phones continue to represent a large opportunity for mobile handset makers, especially in price-constrained emerging markets,” said research firm IHS analyst Ian Fogg.
The REX line contains the REX 90, REX 80, REX 70, and REX 60.
The phones vary slightly. The REX 90 is the largest, equipped with a 3.5-inch screen and a 3.2-megapixel camera. The REX 70 and 80 have 3-inch screens, but the 70 has a 2-megapixel camera and the 80 has a 3.2 megapixel camera. The REX 60 is the tiniest with a 2.8-inch screen and a 1.3-megapixel camera.
All of the REX phones are will be equipped with EDGE cellular connectivity. EDGE provides a medium data transfer speed, and is a noticeable upgrade from the more common GSM/GPRS networks which are used for cheap phones. When EDGE service isn’t available, the phone will revert to the slower GPRS standard.
REX phones also are equipped with Wi-Fi, including 802.11n for network access. 802.11n leverages MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) and increases channel bandwidth which together increase the range and strength of the signal.
REX phones are user-friendly with color LCD screens, full touch interfaces, a mobile browser, as well as social networking and chatting apps including Twitter, Facebook, & Google+, Yahoo Messenger, and Samsung’s ChatOn.
REX phones also have the capability to use 2 SIM cards simultaneously, and switch between a maximum of 5 SIM cards without turning the phone off first.
Samsung said phones that enable dual-SIM card usage are ideal for business trips to areas with different coverage or as a way to get better tariffs.
There are a few aspect of the phone that could be considered a downside. The Apps run on Java, browser is Opera Mini, screen sizes are about 3 inches, and the camera resolutions range from only 1.3 to 3.2 megapixels.
However, these potential issues depend a great deal on personal preference and individual usage. It’s likely to be a hit with users who want an affordable phone with browsing and chatting capabilities that can also wield dual-SIM cards.
Samsung’s REX phone line may prove to be their smartest investment for 2013. IHS estimates that there will be 653 million feature and entry-level mobile phones shipped globally in 2013.
In the emerging markets, Samsung’s REX will be pitted against Nokia’s and LG Electronics’ new dual-SIM cards.
Facebook and Twitter have also recognized the growing popularity of cheaper smartphones in the developing world. As such, both companies have maintained SMS features and improved feature phone access for users on less-than-ideal cellular networks.
Canalys, a market research company estimates that the developing markets will be responsible for 70% to 80% of growth for the coming year. This growth will place Samsung’s REX in a prime position to make high profits.
– Kasey Beduhn