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Why Dumbphones Still Dominate, For Now 618

Posted by timothy
from the dumbbells-are-everywhere dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Androids are awesome, iPhones impressive ... but dumbphones still dominate. Of the 234 million cell phone users in America last year, a dominating 73 percent own traditional (aka non-smart) devices, according to market researcher comScore. Despite their more popular mindshare, intelligent devices like the Apple iPhone and phones based on Google's Android operating system own barely a quarter of the market."
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Why Dumbphones Still Dominate, For Now

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  • Smart people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:54AM (#35173192) Journal

    Some people are smart enough to realise (and have the restraint) that you don't need to be connected all the time; that it's actually healthier not to be.

    Alas, I'm not one of them.

  • by ckblackm (1137057) on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:55AM (#35173200)
    I use the phone to make calls and send texts. I don't have a need for the added features of the "smart" phone, and can't justify the extra expense for the new toy or it's higher cost data plan.
  • Price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:56AM (#35173208) Journal

    “And they certainly don’t want the additional monthly bill,” which can cost upwards of $30-50 extra, depending on the web service.

    That's it. I held out until a year ago. I preferred my candy bar Nokia with $24/mo. Now I'm on a DROID with $77/mo cost. And that's with a 25% discount from my employer! Trust me, if I lost my job or found myself in hard times this would be the first thing to go. Unfortunately I'm in a two year contract -- yet another aspect that should scare you.

    I predict dumbphones will continue to dominate until the major carriers stop this ridiculous pricing model. In my eyes, my DROID is waste -- albeit enjoyable and convenient. It's very hard to convince me that there is a $50 dollar per month difference in what these devices do on the carrier's network.

  • smart or dumb? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyfer2000 (548592) on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:56AM (#35173212) Journal
    “I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.” - Bjarne Stroustrup, the designer and original implementer of C++
  • How about: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:59AM (#35173266)

    Because it costs less than a few hundred to replace?
    There isn't a massive 4" touch screen just waiting to crack.
    Without said screen they're much smaller.
    They don't need charged daily.

    My Nokia 1100 [freshphonenews.com] was hands down the best phone I ever owned. Very tiny, nearly indestructible, easy to read screen, T9 prediction was pretty good and it had the best 'feature' on any phone, an actual LED flashlight, I think I charged it once or twice a week.

    Now that I'm on Verizon, I wish they had made a CDMA version.

  • Re:Smart people (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:05AM (#35173342)

    I have a $320 MSI netbook and a cheap data plan that does a lot more than I could with any smart phone. It only weighs maybe 2 pounds more and I can easily carry it in my satchel.

    So, basically, I could buy a $200 more expensive phone and lose a lot of functionality to gain a small bit of convenience, or I could just keep using the netbook to do remote work when I need it.

    Smartphones are toys, and at their current cost, they're not compelling toys for more people. They either need to increase their functionality to match netbooks and laptops or they need to drop in price to be more commensurate with their actual usefulness before they become widely accepted as the norm.

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:06AM (#35173362)

    Exactly.

    There is no middle ground (from my perspective). You either go “dumb phone” or all out.

    I imagine there are a lot of people like myself, who have no desire to be connected every moment of the day. I have a computer at home, and a computer at work... no need for a computer between those points.

    I’d love to be able to quickly look something up or use GPS/google maps on the odd occasion, but wouldn’t use it often enough to justify $70 a month, which here in Canada seems to generally be the minimum. That’s just too much money for something I might use once or twice a month.

    As for the whole status symbol thing... good grief. Maybe in certain parts of the population or certain ages but even when I was in school I don’t remember any of this status symbol garbage. People got popular by other means (what music they listened to, doing and selling drugs, etc). And if your out of school.. get a life!

  • Re:Smart people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:38AM (#35173852) Homepage

    I carried a 10 pound $800 lap top on my vacation to Boston a couple of months ago. I also carried my iPhone. Guess which one got used, and which one isn't going with me next time. This isn't an advertisement for iPhone either, everything I did with it I could have done on an Android, Nokia, or WebOS device. Phone apps helped me navigate the subway system, find fun things to do, walk where I wanted to without getting lost, keep in touch with the people I was visiting if we had to separate (My wife is living up there and had to go in to work a few of the days I was up), keep in touch with the people taking care of my dog back home, use the web to look up some more information about some of the stuff I saw...

    One of the advantages of phones over netbooks is precisely that they aren't "real" computers. No one writes an app for Windows or stock Linux that helps you find the nearest T-station. Why would they? How many people are going to be wandering around with a full computer trying to find a T-station? Lots of people use phones for it though, or at least I have to guess they do given the 7 or 8 apps I had to chose from. The thing is that there are very few things you can do on a full sized computers that you can't do on a phone. There are some things they can't really do: I wouldn't want to edit photography on a phone for sure; and other things are definitely a bit more trouble: SSH works on my phone, but it's not exactly a ton of fun to use. None the less they *can* do almost everything that a computer can do, and do it adequately for most purposes in an emergency. They can also do lots of things most computers can't which are really nice while on the move (GPS, apps which just make more sense for a purely portable platform, etc)

  • Re:Smart people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:52AM (#35174056)

    Some people may realize they THEMSELVES don't need to be connected all the time, but truly smart people don't think everyone else is just like them.

  • Re:Smart people (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbengt (874751) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:59AM (#35174140)
    I just call mine a bag.
  • by Buelldozer (713671) <cliff@gindu l i s . net> on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:29AM (#35174622)

    It's not the $20 up front that is "too expensive" it's the monthly reoccurring $20 (minimum!) that is ridiculous!

    With Verizon and a new Smartphone under contract that number actually balloons to something like $40 PER MONTH PER LINE for JUST the data service!

    So with four lines I'd have $160 for data, $80 for voice, and $20 for texting. Why, exactly, does my cell phone bill need to be $260 per month? Answer: It doesn't!

    Oh, and without the data plan a smartphone is really no better than a dumb one. Maybe some better games and some additional PDA functionality but that's about it.

    The simple truth is that until data prices come down smartphones are too expensive for many people to justify no matter how much they want them.

  • Re:Smart people (Score:2, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:57AM (#35175118) Journal

    Smart phones are overpriced toys.

    I have a $20 disposable, pay-as-you-go mobile phone that I picked up from Family Dollar a few years back. I only turn it on when I'm leaving the house, and it's only used when communication is necessary. All it does is make voice calls and send texts, though I've never even done the latter.

    People really need to disconnect. It's sad to see people that simply can't put their phones down for a few minutes, because making that Twitter post is so important.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 11, 2011 @01:11PM (#35176318) Homepage

    Have you ever noticed that these days, the first thing people do when they get into an elevator is reach for their phone to look at something... anything other than making eye contact or talking with people in the elevator?

    Since people in elevators have been avoiding eye contact or talking with the others in the elevator since roughly forever... your point would be, what exactly?

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