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Why Dumbphones Still Dominate, For Now 618

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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  • 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?

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

    by SpeedyDX ( 1014595 ) <speedyphoenix&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 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:1, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:28AM (#35173660) Journal

    >>>smart enough to realise (and have the restraint)

    For me it's not high IQ, but "restraint" certainly has a lot to do with it. I don't see the need to spend ~$600/year for an internet-capable smartphone when my "dumb" phone can be had for $0.00 a year. (I only get billed when I use it - which is rare.)

    Similarly I don't have cable TV. I used to when it was a decent price ($400/year) and Sci-Fi actually played sci-fi, but since the price skyrocketed to $900..... forget it. I put-up an antenna and now get 40+ channels for free.

  • 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:My reasons (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:44AM (#35173938) Homepage


    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 somewhere where I have a nice keyboard. If I'm browsing a website, it's ALWAYS not urgent.

    Last year I *downgraded* my (already ancient) phone from Bluetooth, Java, camera, GPRS, etc. to one that sends and receives texts and phone calls. I never used the other features so they all seemed pointless to keep about and my phone's battery needed replacing. For the price of a cheap battery off eBay, I could get a brand new phone, battery and charger that did everything I needed it to do: GSM and SMS.

    A sysadmin logging onto somewhere from a smartphone to fix a problem might "seem" cool, but it just tells me that you don't have an appropriate spread of skills / knowledge or enough staff to cope, that you have to have THAT person, WHEREVER they are, able to log in to do THAT task.

    A smartphone is a toy and I'd find it almost impossible to justify commercial use of one except to show off (like those sales people who like to use tablet PC's to type your requirements into a notepad document etc.). Last year I refused a company-bought Blackberry with data plan - no way I'm getting sucked into the "can you just logon and have a look" thing when I'm on holiday.

    On another note - when I'm not at work, I'm NOT at WORK. Unless absolutely critically urgent (and it never is because of the nature of my employer's work), they have no need to have me respond outside of working hours. So I don't.

    There are probably a few people who will claim they MUST be in contact all that time but it just shows that their company is happier buying some over-worked sap a smartphone so they can be called in to help whenever there's a problem instead of training people on every shift to be able to cope with anything.

  • 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.

  • 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...

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

    by xSauronx ( 608805 ) <xsauronxdamnit@gmail. c o m> on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:16AM (#35174412)

    i call mine a book bag...and when i get out of school, ill call it a laptop bag. it has lots of stuff in it: cat5e patch cable (and coupler, and crossover adapter, and loopback adapter), phone patch cable, leatherman surge, flashlight, various bootable flash drives, digicam, 11.6" laptop w/ charger, 2 or 3 different usb cables, pens and pencils, tylenol/aspirin, school/work related folders.

      i usually keep it in the car, or take it in to work or class, but i dont actively carry it unless i need it, or expect to.

    i always carry my android phone.i treat it like a PDA and a comm device mostly. calendar/agenda, emails, IMs, phone calls. sometimes pandora, navigation/gps, internet browsing or games to kill time here and there. also i used to carry a notepad...but its so hard to keep up with paper, to keep it in good shape, and to organize and search a notepad. its all on my phone now.

    the laptop doesnt get used super often, but its so small and light that its always in my bag. i can use it for real work or media consumption, its got a core i3 1.2ghz, so its not super powerful, but i can get enough done on it for it to be worth having, and i use it in classes to take notes (again, i dont use paper)

    digital lifestyle: i love it. /also loves being prepared for all sorts things at a moments notice. the trunk of my car is never empty.

  • Re:smart or dumb? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @12:21PM (#35175518)

    Seriously? Have you ever actually heard him talk about his work?

    He's a professor here at my university, and though I haven't taken any of the classes he teaches, quite a few of my friends and colleagues have, and they all come back with stellar reports about the wealth of information he has and the interest he has in sharing it with students at both the grad and undergrad level. I have attended a few of his outside-of-class lectures, and it was always clear to me that the guy cared deeply about his work and had really wrestled through all of the different aspects involved with it, since he had good answers to explain precisely why he had decided on every little detail that you might consider.

    If your opinion of him is that he doesn't spend enough time thinking about programming languages, I would take that to mean that either you don't understand them at all, or else that you don't understand his goals in designing them. Disagree with him or his goals if you want, but don't suggest that he doesn't think about these things thoroughly.

  • 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. :)

Variables don't; constants aren't.