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Cheaper Smartphones on the Rise: Four Stocks to Watch as the Trend Takes Hold


Foreign manufacturers are looking to gain on the industry giants, and investors are paying attention.


No one sells as many smartphones as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF). At least, not yet.

The two main producers of the increasingly ubiquitous device have been egging each other on for years, in a kind of technological arms race, each one trying to out do the other with new models. If one developed an HD screen, the other made its screen even bigger, and so on. However, indicators now suggest that the two major companies who have pioneered smartphone manufacturing are beginning to run out of ideas. Their combined share of the global market slipped from 49% to 43% over the course of the last year. And with the dip in innovation, prices have begun to drop, giving an advantage to Asian manufacturers with lower costs.

Several telecommunications and technology companies in China, South Korea, and Japan have made a push toward creating more cost-effective alternatives to the glamorous iPhone. LG Corp (KRX:003550), Sony (NYSE:SNE), and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) are coming out with new models this year, and Chinese companies such as Lenovo (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) and ZTE Corp (SHE:000063) are breaking in to emerging markets, offering their own low-cost alternatives as well.

Apple is expected to announce a cheaper model of the iPhone by the end of the year, perhaps a concession that dropping four to six hundred bucks on a cellphone will eventually cease to be the norm. But investors will want to keep their eyes on how Apple and Samsung might make up for the shortfall – if that's possible.

Will smaller tech manufacturers start to get a bigger slice of the smartphone pie? Use the list below to begin your own analysis.

1. Nokia: Provides Internet and digital mapping and navigation services worldwide. Market cap at $15.03 billion; most recent closing price at $4.05 per share.

2. Sony: Designs, develops, manufactures, and sells electronic equipment, instruments, and devices for consumer, professional, and industrial markets worldwide. Market cap at $22.35 billion; most recent closing price at $22.11 per share.

3. Lenovo: Engages in the manufacture and distribution of IT products, and provision of IT services in worldwide. Market cap at $10.26 billion; most recent closing price at $18.40 per share.

4. ZTE Corp: Engages in the design, development, production, distribution and installation of various telecommunications systems and equipment. Market cap at $5.21 billion; most recent closing price at $3.03 per share.

Editor's note: This article was written by James Dennin, Kapitall writer. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research. All other data sourced from Finviz.

Kapitall's lists break complex concepts down to their basics, offering education and investing ideas to novices that double as a refresher course for more seasoned investors. Inspired by video game design, Kapitall's revolutionary brokerage platform combines a graphical user interface with tools that make it easy to build portfolios, share ideas and execute trades.

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