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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.

    • 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.

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

        by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:11AM (#35173428) Homepage

        It's not a satchel, it's a purse.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          its a European Shoulder Bag...
        • It's European!
      • 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)

        • by downhole (831621)

          I've mostly stopped taking laptops on vacations too. Partly for being heavy and expensive, and partly because they're better at web surfing and killing time. I know that if I have a full laptop, I'll be tempted to spend lots of time messing with the internet in the hotel room or wherever. But I did't go wherever I went to sit around and surf the net - I can do that at home.

          The phone can surf the net and stay in touch and do all of that stuff, but it's just a little annoying to use with the small screen and

      • by Tharsman (1364603) on Friday February 11, 2011 @12:35PM (#35175726)

        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.

        Opening up the netbook and using it as a GPS while driving has to be super fun! And I cant imagine the envy eyes in the subway when people see me take out a netbook to browse the web! And opening up the computer in the middle of a BestBuy to browse for potentially lower prices for stuff you just saw, all the tekkies there will drool at the sight of my super netbook!!! Man, I was such a fool getting myself a smartphone, I should had bought a netbook with a dataplan!!!

    • I once saw an awesome word that described "medicine in an impure phone". This means that ____ is absolutely not a placebo; however, all kinds of other good,bad, & ugly things are wrapped up in the "blob" that confuse the issue. Marketing's entire duty is to prevent rational decision making. I feel you have fallen prey to this.

      So ... don't be connected all the time. However, the realms of (smartphone) and (connected all the time) are not the same. Smartphones are hardware devices which Do Stuff. Connec

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

      by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:14AM (#35173462)

      I switched from a smart phone plan to a "dumb phone" plan because I found it too distracting to be connected all the time. To each their own, however.

      Incidentally, I've found social interactions (particularly lunch, coffee, or interactions that take a while) with people who don't have smart phones to be more pleasant. Not to say anything about inherent social personalities of smart phone and dumb phone users, but dumb phone users simply don't check their phones as much. It's nice to be able to talk to someone at lunch without them constantly checking their email or twitbook each time there's a natural lull in the flow of conversation. It breaks attention and train of thought. Their social facial and body cues are sometimes missing from the conversation, so it makes the other party feel like they're disengaged.

      • by vegiVamp (518171)

        I have a data plan, and yet I'm not connected all the time. To the contrary - I'm only only when I need to. I don't have an endless stream of twitter feeds, facebook updates and rss stuff streaming to my phone; I just have google when I need it.

        It's not even a matter of "which plan", it's just a matter of having control over your own actions.

        • by AntEater (16627)

          It's not even a matter of "which plan", it's just a matter of having control over your own actions.

          That's a nice idea but it doesn't often work that way. Many people (with a smart phone) don't seem to have the iron will to not be rude while talking face to face with someone. If someone can't control their actions at one level then they need to make their changes somewhere upstream in the decision making process. Either that, or enjoy the consequences of their rude behavior.

          • by Tharsman (1364603)

            That's a nice idea but it doesn't often work that way. Many people (with a smart phone) don't seem to have the iron will to not be rude while talking face to face with someone. If someone can't control their actions at one level then they need to make their changes somewhere upstream in the decision making process. Either that, or enjoy the consequences of their rude behavior.

            I'm sorry but I am not sure what prehistoric age you just time traveled from. In the present, people rudely point their noses to their phones without regard of these being smart phones or dumb phones. Text messaging is still a huge deal and virtually every single phone in the world can do this. Smartphones have nothing to do with that behavior. This has been true for the last 15 years.

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

        by peragrin (659227) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:48AM (#35173998)

        I am connected all the time but I have self control too.

        That means I don't whip out my phone and check my email, text, or even answer the phone just because it goes off. I can ignore it and live quite happily. I rarely respond immediately to text messages, so my friends know that the best way is to leave a message and wait.

        Of course I don't have a twitter account because I am not a twit, nor am I narcissistic enough for facebook.

    • by mschaffer (97223) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:21AM (#35173570)

      Honestly. Many people simply do not have the need, desire, temperament, or extra money required to purchase something other than a "dumbphone". Also, "dumbphones" make phone calls just as well as the so-called "smartphones".
      It has nothing to do with being smart enough to realize you don't need one.

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

      by gstoddart (321705) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:30AM (#35173686) Homepage

      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.

      And, as much as I have no desire to be connected all of the time and don't have a smart phone ... cost is also a big factor.

      My wife and I have two land lines, long distance plans, two fairly basic cell phones, digital TV, internet, plus the rental of my wife's PVR. Adding two smart phones to that would take our bill of close to $300 to close to $400 every month.

      I'm just not willing to pay what it costs to have a smart phone. The gouge me enough for all of the other services already.

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

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:52AM (#35174054)

      It is about cost. Some people do not see spending an extra 30 a month on top of each phone they own. In some families it can be as many as 4 phones. 4*30 + 100. A 200+ phone bill is not exactly sustainable. That is ~2600 a year. Average family income is ~55k, or about 40k after taxes. That is 6% of your income to just pay for phones. Most people can not swing that. After paying for food/car/house/gas/electric.

      So yes the 'el cheapo' as the 'geezers' call them does make sense.

      They are cool and all. But 200 bucks a month cool?

      When the dataplans come down in price you will see many more people use them. Right now it is in the 'fad' stage and the phone companies are taking advantage of that. But in 3-5 years that will have worn off and they will be wanting to convert 'el cheapos' to paying something for a dataplan. You will start seeing it when people start dumping their cool shiny phones for elcheapo again. I am borderline on that myself. I used the hell out of it at first. Now its just a phone again.

      Its funny per byte SMS is still more expensive...

    • 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.

    • Like hell that I am going to shell out nearly a hundred a month to use one of these smart phones. If anything I think they coined the term "smart phone" to coerce people into paying the absurd monthly costs. As in, its a smart phone, which means the people using them are special, you know, smart, smarter and more hip than those who don't have one.

      Really, people line up to pay over two hundred dollars for these and willingly sign up for nearly a hundred more a month just to use them? Oh I know, there are

  • 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.
    • 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!

      • I'd wager cost is a MAJOR reason. Who has 300 bucks to spend on a phone, then 50 -70 bucks a month for a data plan when I can keep my 30 a month unlimited text and coast to coast calling, and get a phone for free every year? I'm sure if I actually got one one day I'd be addicted for life, but until then... no thanks until the price comes down.
        • by mcvos (645701)

          I spend €5 per month for my dumb phone, and €30 a month for unlimited data on my Android 'phone' (it's more like a pocket computer). Though my country isn't as big as the US. I guess that matters.

      • by mcvos (645701)

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

        I agree. For a long time, I just didn't see the point of smartphones. The screen was too tiny, the input impractical, and you're messing around with that stylus. Besides, there wasn't all that much you could actually do with it. There was equally little point to UMTS too.

        And then the iPhone came. Big screen, capacitive multitouch, tons of useful apps, websites designed for mobile usage, affordable data plans. Every high-end smartphone has that now, and it's practical. For me at least. I like having the inte

        • by dwightk (415372)

          affordable data plans. Every high-end smartphone has that now

          ha

          If telcos want to expand the market much farther they need to lower the monthly cost.

          I think it is funny that people talk about various phones' prices. With a $70/month 2 year contract, they are all practically identical.

      • by david.given (6740)

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

        I have a medium phone; an Alcatel OT-808. It's a tiny square clamshell. Folded up it's about 6x6x1cm. Unfolded, there's a 320x240 screen and a basic but adequate QWERTY keyboard. It runs some no-name OS but has the IBM J2ME engine. It's got a battery life of about three days, a fairly crappy camera, and is GPRS only.

        I use it mainly for text messages (a QWERTY keyboard makes these so much easier), plus some phone calls. I also use it for web browsing using Opera Mini, ssh to my home server using a hacked-u

    • Exactly. If the data plans didn't cost and arm and a leg, and you KNOW they'll never lower the pricing, I'd consider it.
    • by Kugrian (886993)

      Same. My 'dumbphone' also has a torch, FM radio and a few games, but I wouldn't miss them if it didn't. The most attractive feature is the week+ long battery life.

    • by Like2Byte (542992)

      3 or 4 years ago, I had the same mindset you have now. I don't expect my post to sway your direction either way.

      In a recent experience with my Android while shopping I was able to look up a ton of information about the wireless routers I was looking at while at a brick and mortar store. I was able to determine which one's were a best fit for running DD-WRT and a wealth of other information. I was also able to determine who in my local area had the item for sale cheapest.

      Yes, I could have done this from hom

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      There's an even bigger advantage for tech folks:
      Let's say you're out for a nice walk in the park on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, and enjoying yourself, and the boss calls and says "Help, the email server is down!" If you have a dumb phone, you can truthfully say "Sorry, mate, but I'm 2 hours away from anything with Internet access. If you call Bill and he can't figure it out, I'm willing to help him over the phone, but I can't solve your problem on my own." If you have a smart phone with a nice data

    • by hey! (33014)

      I don't "need" my Android phone, but it sure is handy being able to put an appointment in and have it show up in the calendar I share with my wife. It's nice to be able to see whether an email I've been waiting for has arrived yet without having to dig out my laptop.

      Can I live without my smartphone? Sure. Is my life better with my Android phone than it would be without? A little bit, but not radically so. Is my life worse without the cash I give up every month for the data plan? A little bit, but not radic

  • 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.

    • I agree. It's all about the "ridiculous pricing model". I may reconsider when smartphone data plans are bundled in with Internet, phone, cable TV. Until then, I'll do my Internet-enabling on my laptop and calling on my dumb phone (which, btw, is prepaid and hardly ever used). Sorry, AT&T, Verizon.
    • I had a "smart phone" (T-Mobile Sidekick) when owning one only meant a $20 add-on cost to your existing plan to get unlimited data. These days they cap you for that price, and with evolutionary higher data rates you hit that cap much faster.
      • by ArcherB (796902)

        I had a "smart phone" (T-Mobile Sidekick) when owning one only meant a $20 add-on cost to your existing plan to get unlimited data. These days they cap you for that price, and with evolutionary higher data rates you hit that cap much faster.

        I still get unlimited data and it only costs me $10 a month. I'm on Sprint. See, the reason T-Mobile is able to charge you $20/mo for capped data is because morons like you continue to pay it. Surely your contract has expired at least once since you used a Sidekick. Why on earth did you not leave them?

        Please don't take offense to be called a moron. You are in good company. I've done some really stupid things in my time to make me a bigger moron that paying $20/month for capped data. But still, stayin

        • Often it is about coverage. I live in south Dakota and Verizon is the only one with coverage dang near everywhere so if we want cell coverage out in the sticks we are stuck. however I agree to a point with if you pay it they will charge. 30 bucks a month for unlimited data. Data is digital, is 1 or 0. Voice is digital, is either 1 or 0. Difference?
    • Exactly. The requirement to have a data plan at a much higher rate, as well as a 2-year agreement with a very high termination fee is scary to most people if they really think about it. Two years is a long time to be paying that much.
      There are some ways to go month-to-month, but people don't like the higher upfront costs for some reason, and the carriers don't make it very easy to do.
    • by Mascot (120795)

      How is that a relevant comparison? When on a contract you've typically put down very little for the phone, and a significant amount of the monthly bill is down payments on the phone itself. To figure out what those extra 50 are paying for, you'd have to compare what's included in each subscription when it comes to minutes and such, as well as the cost of the phone itself.

      I prefer to buy my phones separately myself. I'd rather pay for the phone and subscription individually, instead of locking me into contra

      • by jank1887 (815982)

        just curious. which carrier do you use that will discount the plan rate if you don't take a free phone/contract? Yes, the no contract/no termination fee part is a perk, but which carrier/plan will actually reduce your monthly payment?

    • This is why I don't want a smart phone.
      If I could get a Data plan that didn't cost much if I didn't use it much, maybe.

      Currently I pay $20/mo for 200 minutes + VM + CID (no text or data)

      Most/All Phone Sharks* in Canada will not offer data service without a contract.

      *Phone Sharks: Hey, it fits. A loan shark has punitive service charges. So do Phone companies. The CRTC Mob boss skims off the top with taxes.

    • I fully agree. I know plenty of tech savvy people who still use dumb phones. They simply chose not to take on that expense. It's not even the gadget cost, it's the monthly plan cost and contract.

      I only made the move when my company blocked all personal email accounts along with most of the internet. Since I work for a DoD contractor, I can't get my work email outside of the office, either. So it effectively cut off my main form of communication with people. I got a BlackBerry. Since then, I've moved on

    • Pay as you go with light usage averages under $10 a month for me.

      Cheapest smart phones with a plan are roughly $100/mo, plus a 2 year contract. You have to either be pretty addicted or pretty dumb to want that.

      When they get around to letting me buy a gigabyte for $5-10 bucks as a pay as you go I might consider it, but right now the data plans are psychotic, the contract terms are draconian, and the non-subsidized prices are insane.

    • This seems to be pretty much limited to the US. Here in Germany you can get a 5GB data package for 15€ a month - prepaid. It's the texts and calls that are expensive - calling and texting flatrates start at about 40€ a month.

      However, with my usage, VoIP being allowed on my carrier, I hardly ever spend more than 1€ on calls and texts. IM & E-Mail take care of most of it, and the SIP voice flatrate included in my home DSL package takes care of the rest. I'm spending about 30€ (my roomm

  • 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++
    • by cptdondo (59460)

      Yeah, that. And it's the UI on the smartphones; most of them just plain suck for anything but texts and maybe checking the weather. OK, playing games. Maybe if you have little fingers like my kids; but an older guy that's got big hands - the smartphones are just a big exercise in frustration.

      I have 4 dumb phones in the family for $100/mo. I can't even get a single smart phone for that.

  • You have to pay for internet service to a smart phone, some people (such as myself) see that as a waste of money, when I have internet at home, and the smart phones/plans don't allow tethering without a jailbreak (ie, put you at risk for losing internet or your whole phone)
    • by Whorhay (1319089)
      I just don't percieve a need for a smart phone in my families daily life. I can't even take a dump phone to my place of work. I live very close to work and 98% of my life is spent either at home or at work. Why would I pay for an over priced dataplan 12 months a year that could possibly prove useful 2% of the time.
  • Although my wife has an Android phone, I make do with a Tracphone $15 special I got. It's definitely a "dumb" phone, but I don't text, and rarely make calls. I use an iPod Touch, and that is enough for a portable pocket computer; I only sometimes miss the work anywhere of a 3G device. Would I like a smart phone? Sure. Do I want to pay for two people's voice+data plans? Nope. I'm betting that many others are in the same boat.
  • You can get a dumb-phone for a tenth of the price of the average smart-phone.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      This is soo it.

      I pay $7/month for my tracfone while some of my coworkers are paying over $70/month for their android or iphone. Sure, they can play nice games and shit when on break. Is that truly worth over $750 a year extra? I think not. Not even close.

      I'm sure there are at least a few readers here today that read $750+ extra per year and realize how foolish they have been... but a week from now they will have forgotten. Most people are bad with money.
  • by brunes69 (86786) <.gro.daetsriek. .ta. .todhsals.> on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:58AM (#35173248) Homepage

    Phones run on a 3-4 year life cycle, because that is what people's contracts on North American plans run at. 3 years ago Android was a pile of crap and the iPhone was quite expensive.

    3 years from now everyone in that 75% will have a smartphone, if for no other reason than the fact that "dumb phones" won't even exist anymore. Android is shipping on bargain-basement $99 and under phones nowadays.

    • Will I be able to get that Android phone for free (with contract) and without having to pay extra for a data plan? Actually will I be able to get two Android phones for free? Three months ago my wife dropped and broke her phone. Our contract had expired, so we went into the closest store for our provider. Picked out the cheapest phone that was satisfactory, turns out that since we were out of contract we were eligible for some discounts that made them free. I was really tempted to get a smartphone, but none
  • 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.

    • by CaptBubba (696284)

      You want a Nokia 2128i. It is basically the same phone with the same flashlight function but is a CDMA phone. I had it for years as the free phone which came from Verizon. You should be able to find it for cheap.

  • In Norway with its 4,5 million inhabitants, in 2010 50% off all mobile phones sold (2,5 million phones) was a smartphone. And they expect it to climb to 70% this year.

  • Not everyone needs 24/7 internet access wherever they go. Not everyone wants it either. But since smartphones are pretty much making PDAs obsolete, there won't be much of a choice in a few years. Hopefully then the data prices will be trivial.

  • That's TFA's answer to the question posed by the title. Smart phones seem to be getting smaller. A few more years, and we'd probably get to the expendable part. But simple? Somehow I get the feeling that "smart" is the antithesis of "simple".
  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:04AM (#35173338)
    I'm in the market for a dumb phone or two right now. Ever try to buy one? The market has fragmented into two: smartphones (which earn the carrier huge fees every month), and dirt-cheap phones they can give away for free. There are no more nice, well-made 'dumb' phones like the Nokia 8800.

    Of course, even those free dumb phones aren't really 'dumb' any more - they can all text, have still cameras and often video ones, play music, and many can do simple web stuff and access Facebook. They aren't really dumb, they are just lacking the ability to download apps.
  • Because the primary use of a phone is making calls and smartphones are bulky ugly things with terrible battery life. Honestly if I could find a good simple lightweight phone with long battery life I would buy it in an instant - but now I'm stuck with the SE X10 mini pro, which doesn't really have any of those things. I'm not inclined to walk about with a 4" screen in my pocket and I presume a lot of people feel like that.
  • My wife has an iPhone. She really benefits from reading e-mail on the go, and the mapping anywhere. She's a doula (professional birth coach) and mother of two young kids, so information on the go is important.

    I need to be able to text during the day and place the occasional emergency phone call, rarely even once a month. I don't want to drop more than $50 to buy it, and I want to minimize my monthly fee (currently $15 above my wife's plan). My phone is way more than I need, and it was the freebie that A

  • by Eggplant62 (120514) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:09AM (#35173400)

    Smart phone: $200 to $700
    Data capable plan: $120 to $250 monthly

    Dumb phone: $50 to $100
    Simple plan: $40 to $80 monthly.

    Um, what the fuck, do these phone companies think we're all multimillionaires?

  • 1) They're cheap
    2) They're simple
    3) They're harder to break
    4) From a business standpoint, your security guys and general staff don't need an expensive smartphone
    5) No huge data charges
    6) They last forever
    7) They can go a week+ on a single charge

    And they're just the ones I could think of off the top of my head. Not everyone needs or wants a smartphone.
  • Most people don't need or want 24*7 internet connections wherever they are. For most people access to the internet is like access to a calculator, or a dictionary - sometimes its handy, but most times you don't need it. To carry a calculator around with you the whole time, and to be constantly fiddling with it ... well, you can imaging the sort of mental disorder than onlookers would think you had.

    So while having a phone is handy - press buttons, talk to real people - the same is not true for a smartphone

  • It seems like everyone around me have to replace their phone every 6 months. I'll stick with my indestructible nokia 3310 thanks.

  • I still happily use my Samsung flip phone and will simply replace the battery when it begins to get weak (still going strong 4 years now). I'm an IT guy and would love to have a great smartphone, but I refuse to pay the insane costs to do so. We are talking *thousands* of dollars over the course of just two years! I make a very good living and I refuse to spend my money that way, it blows my mind that every tween and minimum wage-earning person has one. I was able to take an amazing vacation to Grand Cayman

  • 1) Cheap? CHECK
    2) Can sit on it without hurting ass or phone? CHECK
    3) Can drop it out of shirt pocket many times? CHECK
    4) At least one game? CHECK

    and last but not least:

    5) Can make phone calls easily? CHECK

    Many smartphones fail 2 or 3, some fail 5. Most dumbphones get it right.

  • I see it as nice example why there won't be dominating form of computing and communication. People are different and have different needs of communication. 'Dumphones' works for most of people, I have smart one because I *want* to do something additionally - like browsing web or reading emails. It is free market, consumer choice based at it's best. My last dumphone - Benq produced Siemens S75 - was with me for 4 years. It was abused, it fell, were beaten uncounted times. But it still worked. I had to retire

  • I really don't need it and a cheap dumb phone is fine for me. If I got one just for the bigger screen I am forced to have a data plan I don't want. Why should I watch videos on a tiny screen? There are actual big TVs now. Why am I paying for home Roadrunner and then paying AGAIN for net access on a phone? And then the hardware becomes obsolete in 2 years? It's just idiotic. I sometimes wonder who is paying for smart phones that kids use. If it's parents, they need to wise up. If kids are using a goo
  • I have a Blackberry from my employee. I have unlimited data and voice package for business and personal use, yet I couldn't give a damn about the phones.

    The voice is the same as 10 years ago and the Internet connection is the same rubbish it was ~5 years ago (first time I tried 3G). I don't see any point in apps, since I have access to optical line both at home and at work.

    Unless the Internet connection improves (and it won't anytime soon) I don't see any reason to own a smart phone.
  • by DarthVain (724186) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:19AM (#35173540)

    Not everyone wants to join sea org for the pleasure of owning an iPhone.

  • Data plans are simply too expensive. You can get a non-smart phone on a low minute plan for ~$30/month. The same thing with a smart phone is going to run double that per month.

    They're clearly working at changing that by not offering nice non-smart phones.

  • 1) Cost. 2) I don't want to be "always-on" for everybody and everything that is connected.My cell phone is for my convenience, not for the convenience of others. I am an IT pro and have been on the Internet one way or another since 1984. Since I am not a day today SysAdmin anymore, I have a work Cell phone that Ionly have on during work hours. My personal cellphone is really an emergency only phone: a pay-as-you-go Virgin Mobile phone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ledow (319597)

      Snap.

      But I have to add - it's just NOT necessary to have a smartphone, even if you DO need to get online. Anywhere that I *want* to check a website from (i.e. not crammed against the other guy's back on the Tube (subway)) I can do with a netbook or any one of a number of devices, somewhere else, much more comfortably.

      I don't want to prodding styli, or tapping ludicrously *tiny* keys to browse a website or write an email. If I'm writing an email it is, by definition, not urgent. So it can wait until I'm s

  • Wow that is shocking. So in just a few years Smartphones went from a tiny percentage of the market to a huge percentage of the market? And this is shocking? I mean this is like the big news is how fast they are growing not that they are that small for a percentage. Yes a lot of people do not need smartphones but then a lot of people didn't need cell phones.
    My guess is that if you keep watching the percentage will keep growing. Right now you can get smartphones for free. This weekend at Tmobile you can get a

  • Simple flip phone, send the occasional text, nothing more. Simple is good.

  • by dn15 (735502) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:40AM (#35173874)

    The other 75% of mobile users who aren't geeks, businessmen, or Facebook addicts, don't understand why you'd want to pay an extra $30/month to be able to read the latest forwards from grandma about how you can see better driving in the rain if you wear sunglasses. They either don't bother, or they get an iPod Touch instead. Cant say I blame them, really.

    We won't see 100% smartphone penetration until all phones are smartphone and the data plan is included "free." Until then there will be plenty of holdouts who simply don't care.

  • by 1s44c (552956) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:41AM (#35173892)

    Nothing beats so-called dumb phones for the simple task of making phone calls. Smart phones are actually worse at the core thing they are designed to do, they drop more calls, they have worse battery life, they are not as easy to hold. Dumb phones that just work is a market that Nokia utterly dominates.

    Nokia has clearly been smoking crack to want to stop focusing on the one thing they do better than everyone else. They are going to become a third class company in the shiny-things category.

  • by WillyWanker (1502057) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:42AM (#35173896)
    Price, price, and oh, PRICE. Most people simply do not need nor want to spend $100 a month on cell service on top of the $200+ for the damned phone.
  • I'm a geek (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zingledot (1945482) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:54AM (#35174074)
    So under peer pressure from my fellow geeks, I joined the smartphone revolution and bought an HTC EVO. What do I do on my new smart phone? Call people, receive calls, check voicemail, and text. What is harder to do on a smart phone? Call people, receive calls, check voicemail, and text. What do I not do with my smart phone? Read my e-mail, shop, get directions, remote into my PC, sling video, watch TV, play MP3s, tether, control my TV, play games, etc. I regret my smart phone move, and fact is, there will always be a segment of people who will have no desire to use their phone for anything but communicating with people in a space and energy efficient manner.
    • So you prefer to Call people, receive calls, check voicemail, and text instead of read your e-mail, remote into your PC, play MP3s, tether, control your TV or play games? No sir, you are not a geek. Please hand your card at the exit...
  • by Chas (5144) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:44AM (#35174892) Homepage Journal

    They don't need e-mail, or GPS, or *blahblahblahblahblah*.

    Seriously. Were my job not providing me with a smartphone, and as cool as some of the things it can do are, I'd have some dumb, cheapie cell. Not because I can't afford it, but because I don't really care about all the "extras".

  • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Friday February 11, 2011 @12:10PM (#35175344)

    I've used a RZR for years. I've destroyed one with water damage, lost a couple, and I always replace it with the same thing. My monthly plan costs $28. I only have to charge it once every couple of days and it has more features than I want (camera, texting).

    Would an iPhone or Android be neat to have? I guess. But I really don't need one and the costs associated with an upgrade just aren't worth it. Plus, everyone I know with 'smart phones' are constantly in need of an outlet to recharge their power-sucking monstrosities.

    If my phone breaks or I lose it, it costs me less than a month of data on a smartphone to replace.

  • People are funny. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kryliss (72493) on Friday February 11, 2011 @12:29PM (#35175636)

    As with many people, I work in a building with an elevator. 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? Especially the younger generation (18 - ~25). it's funny to watch them read through messages that they've already read just so they don't have to socially interact face to face with someone they really don't know.. Of course.. I like to push them out of their "comfort zone" and talk to them. :)

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