For a few years now, the de facto price for a smart phone has been $200 with contract. However the Motorola Droid 2, the BlackBerry Bold 9780, and the BlackBerry Style 9670 are all now selling at prices below that.
RIM helped start this trend with the release of their Curve and Pearl lines a few years ago. Now however prices are coming down on their higher end phones as well. The 9670 Style isn’t exactly RIM’s showcase phone, but as the first CDMA BlackBerry to launch with OS6, and as a carrier exclusive, it isn’t an entry level model either. Sprint is selling it for $100 with contract, which is more typically a price for an older model. The Bold 9780 is a higher end model (although the 9800 Torch is still arguably RIM’s flagship device). The new Bold is expected to release at $150 with contract which makes it the first of RIM’s Bold series, or touchscreen phones to launch with an initial price under $200. There are even rumors that some carriers will sell the 9780 for only $100. This pattern is not limited to BlackBerry either as the recently released Motorola Droid 2 is now selling at $150 as well.
Granted the argument is that most of the expense is in the contract, but having lower prices on the upfront cost of the phone helps drive sales. In addition to the fact that a number of carriers are now offering tiered data plans at lower monthly rates it has never been more affordable to buy a smartphone. Hopefully this will help to continue to expand the economy that us developers count on.