Android disrupts smartphone market in one more area — price

Thought getting an Android phone for $199 was a good, on-par deal with Apple’s iPhone?

How about getting one for just $30 — or less?

While Apple has held the iPhone price steady at $199/$299 price points (while reportedly mulling an entry-level iPhone priced at $99), Wal-Mart.com (along with partner LetsTalk) is currently selling the HTC Droid Eris for just $30.

walmart-eris.jpg

By most accounts, the Eris is an excellent device with all the slick HTC hardware and user interface touches. It does run Android 1.6, rather than 2.0, but since Google this week brought Google Maps Navigation to its 1.6 OS, there’s very little to separate phones based on the two OS versions.

And did I mention it was $30?

With Apple both the software and hardware maker of the iPhone, any hit on its hardware margins is a hit on its overall business.

For Google, it is clearly pursuing the same Google-everywhere strategy in mobile that it did on the Web, monetizing it all with its advertising engines.

Device makers are already reportedly on track to sell 600,000 Android-based phones in 2009. Price cuts will only further drive sales, one would think. And while we’re at $30, the moment of the no-cost Android phone will probably be upon us soon as well.

Along with further market disruptions…

Updated (the next day): that didn’t take long (Eris offered for $0).

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