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Is It Time to Rethink Feature Phones?

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junko.yoshida
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Re: which feature phone was (or still is) your favorite?
junko.yoshida   7/19/2013 3:41:34 PM
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Carrying two phones does make it logical to use a feature phone. And your example here is really a good one. 

I suspect that where phone companies selling feature phones struggle is that there may be fewer turnovers. Rather than upgrading one's smartphones every six months, probably, a lot of feature phones are handed down from one person to another, or recycled from one country to another. 

junko.yoshida
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Re: which feature phone was (or still is) your favorite?
junko.yoshida   7/19/2013 3:50:39 PM
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Here's one of my first feature phones I used when I was living in Europe. I thought getting a color screen, and having no antenna sticking out of the handset was the coolest thing then. The phone felt snug in my hand.

Tom Murphy
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Re: The future of Nokia
Tom Murphy   7/19/2013 3:55:23 PM
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ChanJ: I'm not sure how you'd define "low-price," and I'm not sure of what it's full retail price was, but the Nokia900 (Windows) was just $99 with a service package when it was released compared to $199 for comparable Samsung (Droid) phones.  It got a lot of publicity for its low price, but still didn't sell very well.

I just checked AT&T, and a Nokia 920 is still $99, the same price as an older iPhone 4s.  A iPhone 5 or a Galaxy S 4 are $199-$399, depending on models. All prices are with a service plan.

Of course, there are feature phones and much older smartphones that are cheaper or free with a service plan. But I think Nokia has been priced aggressively for the market.

mhrackin
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Re: which feature phone was (or still is) your favorite?
mhrackin   7/19/2013 3:57:33 PM
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That's for sure!  I've had my LG for about 5 years.  Maybe a year after the original contract ran out, I converted it to a prepaid no-contract plan using a 3rd-party reseller (same network), along with my wife's (an even simpler LG, NO CAMERA).  Since we used relatively few minutes even on our previous "share" contract, that cut the bill to less than 1/3 what it was.  Now that I've finally trained my wife to use the cell rather than the landline for long-distance calls, it's still a huge savings!  BTW, despite still having the original batteries, both LGs have excellent battery life, at least a week even with higher usage.  I likely won't replace either one until the batteries begin to fail; it's cheaper to get a new (featurephone) cell than a fresh battery!

We did recycle our old Motorolas by donating to one of the domestic-abuse charities that refurbs them and gives them to victims.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Pros of Feature Phone
Susan Rambo   7/19/2013 4:07:39 PM
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chanj0 In addition to power saving, feature phone is particularly useful to elderly. 

Martin Cooper worked on the Jitterbug phone specifically for seniors. Think about that market: right now it's a big market as the U.S. baby boomers age. The Jitterbug Plus is specifically designed with a long-battery life (25 days of standby time) and it's supposed to be intuitive and easy to use.

 

mhrackin
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Re: Pros of Feature Phone
mhrackin   7/19/2013 4:18:47 PM
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Well, Marty is even older than I am; we are both "pre-boomers" and thus very much aware of the needs of OUR generation!  I did work with Marty for a time in the Motorola Research Labs, on the original early work on cell phone technology.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Pros of Feature Phone
junko.yoshida   7/19/2013 4:19:42 PM
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Susan, thanks for bringing that up. I had forgotten about Jitterbug. It's good to hvae a cell phone intergrated with a medical alert system! (well, at least that's what us kids think that our parents should have)

Bert22306
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Sales figures aren't use figures
Bert22306   7/19/2013 4:33:00 PM
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It would be interesting to see the comparison of feature phones vs smartphones in actual use out there, on a year to year basis. As opposed to "shipments," as shown in the graphic.

Featurephones don't need to be upgraded as often as smartphones are. For one, because the features haven't changed much in the past years. For another, because they aren't a trendy fashion accessory. So the real question is, are those who still use feature phones aching to get a smartphone, or could they simply not care less?

This matters because the term "downward spiral" for feature phones might be a misnomer. It's possible that demand could persist indefinitely, rather than falling to zero. For that matter, I would not assume that the fast turn-around of smartphones will last forever either. People do have a way of assuming that the status quo today is "the new normal," but it rarely turns out that way.

Susan Rambo
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Re: Pros of Feature Phone
Susan Rambo   7/19/2013 4:43:26 PM
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@mhrackin: Marty is even older than I am; we are both "pre-boomers" and thus very much aware of the needs of OUR generation!

Hi mhrackin, I bet a phone like the Jitterbug might not even appeal to baby boomers or some pre-boomers anymore after they get used to a smartphone. Do you think? Some octogenarian relatives of mine are now into texting me from their smart phones--I think they're more savvy sometimes than I am, having been tortured by a Blackberry as you were. As long as someone shows them how to use the smartphone, they like the technology. It's the last time we'll have a generation of seniors who didn't know how to use cell phones. 

I did like my Nokia flip phone because it wasn't as power hungry, but it was hard to do any texting.

Thanks for your comment. You must have some interesting stories to tell. 

EdwinP0
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Re: which feature phone was (or still is) your favorite?
EdwinP0   7/19/2013 5:59:43 PM
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LG Fusic.

Small and light.  I can cradle with my shoulder.  Stereo headset.  Plays music/podcasts.  

Physcial buttons (I can call without looking down).  Batteries were good and I can change the battery with one hand.

 



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