Many manufacturers these days are trying to make an impact in emerging markets. Why? Well, a significant amount of those markets are rather big and they see a great prospect in opening up shop there. Let's take India, for example, this is the second biggest smartphone market in the world, only the Chinese market is bigger than India. A lot of manufacturers are turning their aim towards markets like India, HTC for example is trying to make an impact over there in order to sell more handsets, Google has released their initial batch of Android One devices in India and even Motorola started selling their products over there last year. Brazil, Indonesia, and other Latin American markets are similar... there are lots of great examples for this.
Emerging markets will definitely be the talk of the town in 2015, no doubt about that. We'll see many smartphone launches in such markets and a lot of diversity as well. Now, regular updates are important for any smartphone platform, Android included. Android, as a platform, had issues with fragmentation before and even though it's not as pronounced nowadays, it's still an issue. Certain manufacturers like to put heavy skins on top of Android and this slows down the update process quite significantly, while that's not the case on iOS for example. Google is trying to take steps in order to fix this at least to some extent, but the fragmentation is still very much pronounced and it will be interesting to see what happens in the future.
Up-to-date software is important to most everyone, and perhaps even more important in emerging markets than anywhere else. There is not straight answer to the question in the title, but there are a lot of variables to consider. In certain countries, people use their smartphone/tablet for everything, computers aren't even a part of the equation. They need the best possible device for as little cash as possible. I don't know about you, but I'd rather carry an up-to-date software than the one with somewhat higher specs, presuming that the newer software is a true upgrade in experience, of course. New software keeps older phones alive, and that is an important factor for many of us when we purchase our daily drivers, there are a lot of things to consider. I'm sure that each of us has other priorities when buying a smartphone, camera, processing power, screen size and resolution... but all that really doesn't matter without the appropriate software, now does it?
The latest and greatest software is extremely important when purchasing phones, and in emerging markets even more important than anywhere else. Chinese and Indian smartphone OEMs, for example, haven't exactly been the fastest to deliver software updates, at least not in 2014 and years before it. This actually leaves a lot of breathing space for other OEMs to leave a good impression in such markets and turn the attention of consumers their way. You'll see a lot of competition in such markets this year, basically everyone agrees on that point and hopefully that fact will push manufacturers to be more prompt as far as updating their software goes, everyone will benefit from that fact, not just consumers in emerging markets, at least in my humble opinion. Make sure to let us know what you think in the comments, what are your thoughts on all this?