The Growing World of Low-Budget Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce may be extending to the masses.

Two pieces of unrelated news from different parts of the world may be an indicator that there’s starting to be a push to make mobile purchasing easier, if not cheaper, for more people.

A Canadian mobile manufacturer, with offices in Toronto, England. India and Germany, announced that it’s working to create a commerce tablet in the $20 price range.

The company, Datawind, already produces the device for $38 for consumers in India and is looking to cut that price by about half, according to a statement by the CEO.

Meanwhile, a mobile commerce retailer in China just announced it received funding from Chinese powerhouse Tencent and Sequoia Capital. The funding is reported to be in the $100 million range, on top of $65 million previously raised.

The money is to be used for development of a low-budget smartphone by MMB, a mobile commerce retailer that targets markets in rural China. Consumers in those markets make purchases through low-end phones connected to networks slower than 4G.

The company expects shipments of the low-end phones to hit a million this year.

Though disparate markets, the moves point to the different mobile usage demographics.

In other markets, including the U.S., not all smartphone usage patterns are the same.

While some mobile shoppers are power users, using in-store scanning, price checking and maybe some augmented reality apps, others are minimalist smartphone users, using maybe just a handful of apps, and leaning on their phones at times for some Web-based product research.

The low-cost commerce tablets and phones may bring yet another group into the marketplace, joining the smartphone power and minimalist users. The world of mobile commerce remains diverse, and continues to grow.

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