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Cellphones Technology

The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone' 243

zarmanto writes: "The numbers have been telling us for a while now that (formerly expensive) feature phones have been slowly displaced by more feature-rich, high-end smartphones. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the other end of the market is also receiving active encroachment by low-end smartphones. Now, ARM is suggesting that it's actually quite conceivable for OEMs to produce a 'smartphone' for as little as $20 — as long as you compromise a bit on those things which actually make it a smartphone in the first place. So, is this just more graying of the line between smartphones and feature phones? Or is this an indication that the feature phone (as we used to know it) is finally well-and-truly dead?"
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The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:00PM (#46931257)

    Or is this an indication that the feature phone (as we used to know it) is finally well-and-truly dead?"

    Assuming we've heard of this term "feature phone" in the first place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:00PM (#46931263)

    ... I require of my phone is that it make calls and sends/receive texts. My Tracfone costs me about $120 bucks a year. I'm not paying that much per MONTH for a smartphone for the added benefit of playing Candy Crush and watching cat videos on YouTube.

  • Not the phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:03PM (#46931287) Homepage Journal

    I suspect the real desire has nothing to do with the phone itself. The telcos just want to move everyone they possibly can from merely-slightly-expensive voice plans to very-expensive data plans.

    (Then call that "broadband internet access" for regulatory purposes.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:07PM (#46931347)

    The analysis is ignoring everyone who can't use a smartphone because of environmental factors (feature phones are much more resilient to dust, sand, impacts/falls, moisure, etc.) or techophobia (it's difficult to teach people a new UI, especially a non-tactile one, beyond a certain age).

    Feature phones will continue to be with us for a long time to come.

  • by snookerdoodle ( 123851 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:40PM (#46931847)

    Speaking as someone the rest of you might consider a Luddite because I have a feature phone (it's a Samsung with a touchscreen, I don't know the model), the devil's in the details of what the carriers require of you to connect the phone to their network.

    Verizon requires you to have a data plan to even use (e.g.) an iPhone. Even if you never use the data service. If Verizon considers your phone a "Smart Phone", they require you to have and pay for a data plan to use it. My understanding is that the other carriers have the same policy. The people that are buying these phones are paying these monthly fees.

    If you knew me, you'd know I'm not really a Luddite. For example, when I play my guitar, I don't play with a tube amp, but use a device that models a tube amp that is then plugged directly into a P.A. I pay for said device (a Line 6 HD 500) with the money I save by not paying for a data plan. I prefer to say I'm frugal.

    Also, what others have noted: It's Gartner. Seriously?

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:52PM (#46931999)
    From wiki [] it sounds like the term is basically just "not a smartphone." Dumbphones evidently fall into that category. I'm guessing "feature phone" is simply a stupid marketing term that sounds better than "dumbphone."
  • Re:Not the phone (Score:4, Insightful)

    by radarskiy ( 2874255 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @02:53PM (#46932029)

    "Data plans are no longer expensive"
    Compared to voice they are. In *your very own example*, voice and text are unlimited while data is throttled.

  • by mopower70 ( 250015 ) on Tuesday May 06, 2014 @03:11PM (#46932225) Homepage

    >I would leave off the call feature - big waste of time for me.

    Yup. I tend to avoid the whole call thing. People calling my phone is an asynchronous interrupt which doesn't fit with my life and work style.

    The most ironic part of it is, it's the one piece they just can't seem to get right. Phone calls on a cell phone suck. Period. They're awful. I was at someone's house the other day and talked to someone on an old AT&T Bakelite phone over POTS and I was shocked at how beautiful the sound was. I have never, ever - not even once - had a cell phone call that came anywhere close to that. Cell phone call quality is the audio equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting: anyone who claims they can understand a damn thing is just lying.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.