Orange Launches World's Smallest Smartphone

France Telecom mobile arm, Orange, launched the SPV C500 on Tuesday. The Microsoft OS-based smartphone is the smallest such phone released to date. The phone is manufactured, as the previous SPV (Sound, Pictures, Video) by HTC of Taiwan. But the more interesting part of the article is where it describes that Orange will be demanding more customized phone models from vendors starting later this year. Apparently, Orange already has a list of 200 customizations that it requires in a handset, but most of these are software-based. Going forward, they will demand customizations in the plastics, and other hardware components. This will reduce the brand equity of the Nokias of the worlds, and transfer it to the carriers. I discussed this growing trend last August. The net result is that increasing business will go to contract manufacturers in Asia, smartphone OS vendors will see increased opportunity in providing their platform, and by and large consumers will see better terminals sold cheaper, but they may find themselves more locked-in to their carrier by carrier-specific handsets.

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