The Year of the $400 Phone

Omar Zahran
8 min readMay 6, 2020
Photo of iPhone SE in white Apple branded case
Image Credit: Daniel Romero via Unsplash

If there is something that I love about the car industry, it is that there is a sense of reality to buyers. An understanding of what a customer needs creates a sense of nuance with the way that auto manufacturers position their lineups. Take Toyota for instance. Toyota happens to own Lexus, a luxury car brand. But the car you think of the most when you think of Toyota is probably the Camry or Corolla, not so much the Lexus GS or LS. Most drivers realize that while there are some nice things about a Lexus, a Camry or Corolla is a better fit based on value for the dollar. Many car buyers are simply looking for a solution to commute from home to work/school. The vast majority of people care about fuel efficiency not so much about engine horsepower. Car companies understand this, and this is why they market different types of lineups in different ways. What they don’t do, however, is suggest that everyone needs to buy the best car possible regardless of use case.

An industry that doesn’t follow this model at all is the smartphone industry. Companies like Samsung and Apple traditionally have marketed the best possible phones that they have to offer regardless of customer needs. Companies make lower-cost devices and sell a lot of them but never really market them as much as their flagships. Consider Samsung and the way that they market their devices. Currently, the device that gets the most marketing from the company is its very premium-priced Galaxy S20 Ultra. This would be akin to Toyota exclusively marketing the LS instead of the Camry. In 2020 though, the tide is starting to shift and there is a race at the $400 price point, making the price point where most people will buy phones finally being given the attention that they deserve. 2020 is the year of the $400 phone.

Image of Google Pixel 3a phone on top of its box
Image Credit: Sebastian Bednarek via Unsplash

The Economy Class is the Standard

Years ago, the reality in smartphones was that any sort of less expensive option was to be dismissed. It was unworthy of anyone’s money, that is how bad the experience was. This reality started to change around the time that Motorola released the original Moto G in 2013. The impact of this device is often understated, but it was the beginning…

Omar Zahran

Freelance sports writer, check out all my work at