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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.

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: 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.

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.

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.

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. 

mhrackin
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Re: which feature phone was (or still is) your favorite?
mhrackin   7/19/2013 3:34:41 PM
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Like many people, I carry 2 cell phones: a smartphone provided by my employer (iPhone 4), and a "feature phone" (LG8350) that I pay for (as a prepaid).  I've owned several feature phones before the LG (all Motorolas); the LG is my favorite because it's simple to use, has all the features I want (SMS, camera with decent quality, etc.) and a couple I've never used or wanted.  The iPhone replaced an old Blackberry (which I hated because of the tiny keyboard), but i've come to hate it as much as the Blackberry (because I often need to edit text in e-mail or SMS, and the interface design makes that difficult).  However, I do like Facetime, as I have grandchildren living far away!  It's a lot easier to use than Skype.

Regarding cameras, I haven't seen ANY featurephone (with the possible exception of the ones marketed using the "freephone" boondoggle) that doesn't have at least a 1-2Mpixel camera in years!

junko.yoshida
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Re: The future of Nokia
junko.yoshida   7/19/2013 3:28:53 PM
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Chanj, that's a damn good point:

I'm surprise that Nokis hasn't released any low cost smartphone in the US market.

But i wonder how big that segment of the market really is in the United States. I need to check that.

 

DMcCunney
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CEO
Re: Define "feature phone"
DMcCunney   7/19/2013 2:56:26 PM
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obviously, differences between smartphones and feature phones are no longer about the cost.

Well, not so much about the cost of the underlying hardware, at least.

The way it is defined today, from what I understand, is differences in OSes. How many apps can it run?

Differences in OSes don't directly limit how many apps it can run, but do determine how many apps are available to run.  (Hardware limitations may rule out some apps.  No point to an app for manipulating and sharing photos, for example, if your phone lacks a camera, even if the hardware is powerful enough to execute the app.)

App developers want to sell apps, and will concentrate on what they perceive to be the most profitable markets.  So there are a plethora of apps for the iPhone running iOS, and a plethora for Android.  The state of app development for Windows Phone is open to some question: my understanding is that the tools and APIs for doing the development are better than they are for Android, but developers still have to be convinced there is an actual profitable market to be addressed before they jump in.

There are plenty of niche markets still - there are still a boatload of phones out there running Nokia's former Symbian OS, for instance, plus Blackberries and things like the Palm Pre and Pixi, but the number of developers still writing for those markets will be small.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Define "feature phone"
junko.yoshida   7/19/2013 2:37:14 PM
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That's a very good question. When Spreadtrum is making a killing by selling their cihps to $50 smartphones in China, obviously, differences between smartphones and feature phones are no longer about the cost.

The way it is defined today, from what I understand, is differences in OSes. How many apps can it run? 

Remember, many feature phones today already have cameras and even Internet connections (although it may not work that well.)

I apologize for thinking out loud here...but  I am acurious to find out if there is a market segment to be cultivated...where simple, elegant, "doing less" phones consuming less power can win. 

Don't call it a granny mobile (because that would kill its potential market instantly), but I am hoping something like that could pop up. 

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