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Old Jan 26, 2013, 12:06 AM   #1
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The Future of the Feature Phone?

This statistic illustrates the smartphone and feature phone penetration in the United States from October 2010 to February 2012. By February of 2012 the Smart Phone had captured 50% of the US cellular market with further expansion of market share currently under way.

What's the future of the feature and slightly less feature rich phones? Do you believe in the idea that there will be a market for these 'dumb' phones in two or three years? I'm speculating that as the smartphone cost of ownership eventually declines the selling point of the feature phone will vanish. The cost savings will become negligible. I suspect that a niche market is likely to take hold, though.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 12:52 AM   #2
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I have a feeling alot of people will stay with their iPhone 4S & 5, Galaxy S3, Nexus 4.....

Can't see Apple coming up with anything innovative and "out of the ordinary" for the 5S. Android phones, on the other hand, looks like they're on the rise.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 12:58 AM   #3
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There's a big segment if the population that view cell phones as a necessity rather than a handy tool. If I didn't have to keep up with emails at work I would consider getting a feature phone, for nothing else than to try to disconnect myself from the Internet a little bit.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 03:08 AM   #4
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There is still a lot of people that use their phones just for calls and text (I know, how strange ) My wife is typically like this, it does mean that I can use her upgrade every year because I am typically not like this.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 03:13 AM   #5
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I'm actually coming round to the idea of getting a fliptop again... But the current ones are all $89 garbage. If only someone made a premium one
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 08:43 AM   #6
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People still buy feature phones? Why? You can get a cheap Android phone for the same price these days anyway and while it won't be great it'll be far better than any feature phone.

I'm surprised feature phones are even still around today. In three years time they'll be completely dead.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 08:50 AM   #7
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the problem isn't so much the phone as the monthly cost for the service.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 08:53 AM   #8
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the problem isn't so much the phone as the monthly cost for the service.
Oh yeah, data plans in America cost a fortune, forgot about that. In the UK and Europe it's dirt cheap and everyone here has smartphones, even young teenagers have at least a crappy BlackBerry with 500MB data for 5 a month.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 09:43 AM   #9
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I know people with feature phones but their number goes down every day. Free iPhones and cheap android phones are taking them over. Data plans can be cheap $35/m on vigrin mobile for 300 minutes and unlimited data and texting and $45/m on straight talk for unlimited everything (data severely throttled after 2gb).
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 11:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Beeplance View Post

Can't see Apple coming up with anything innovative and "out of the ordinary" for the 5S.
They could move the headphone jack again.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 09:43 PM   #11
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I'm actually coming round to the idea of getting a fliptop again... But the current ones are all $89 garbage. If only someone made a premium one
I wouldn't mind a flip phone, again. I do enjoy the features of my GS3, but apart from web browsing and the occasional texting all I use it for is an actual phone.
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Old Jan 27, 2013, 10:10 PM   #12
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I wouldn't mind a flip phone, again. I do enjoy the features of my GS3, but apart from web browsing and the occasional texting all I use it for is an actual phone.
I found that when I got a tablet it eliminated the majority of my iPhone use. Games, web browsing, videos etc is ALL better on a tablet, so these days I only use my iPhone for calling, texting and internet radio (actually, that last one I would miss if I got a feature phone ).

----------

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They could move the headphone jack again.
Or they could "reinvent" the headphone jack
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 03:36 AM   #13
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Oh yeah, data plans in America cost a fortune, forgot about that. In the UK and Europe it's dirt cheap and everyone here has smartphones, even young teenagers have at least a crappy BlackBerry with 500MB data for 5 a month.
Smartphone usage is only 5-10% higher in Europe than the US.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 06:33 AM   #14
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My other family members wouldn't have gotten the HTC Freestyle if ATT hadn't dropped it back when. You can still get it on ebay though. Great little phone.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2380529,00.asp


Not everyone needs 5 gigs of data every month. I think if people ever wise up, we may see the return of these types of phones. When poor folks, so poor they're driving about junk heaps and living day to day but still have a 'smartphone' with the prerequisite data plan, something's wrong.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 06:55 PM   #15
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Feature phones will be for people like my parents who would be confused by a phone with no physical buttons on a dial pad.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 07:04 PM   #16
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I'm actually coming round to the idea of getting a fliptop again... But the current ones are all $89 garbage. If only someone made a premium one
More & more people share your view. There will be better built, higher quality feature phones from a select few of handset makers in the future.

One reason is there will always be users who want a phone that is compact and designed primarily for calls & text.

Then there are those whom prefer to use a tablet for content consumption, who also need a basic phone for calls.

With the growing number of choices going forward, we'll see that smartphones remain big sellers, but they will not make feature phones extinct. .
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 12:33 PM   #17
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Smartphone usage is only 5-10% higher in Europe than the US.
I can only speak from my own experience but I literally do not know anyone at all who has a feature phone. Actually, I tell a lie, I know one person in his 40's who uses a five year old Nokia. But everyone I know who has actually purchased their current phone in the past few years has a smartphone. No one goes out and buys feature phones anymore unless they only need the phone temporarily.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 02:42 PM   #18
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I can only speak from my own experience but I literally do not know anyone at all who has a feature phone. Actually, I tell a lie, I know one person in his 40's who uses a five year old Nokia. But everyone I know who has actually purchased their current phone in the past few years has a smartphone. No one goes out and buys feature phones anymore unless they only need the phone temporarily.
I don't really get it but the feature phone is still 40%+ of the market even in Europe. People come in many shapes and sizes and a surprising number of them are different to you no matter what dimension you measure.
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 06:04 PM   #19
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You do make some very valid points about your limited phone usage. But it wouldn't be feasible to produce just high-end smartphones. The average consumer can not afford that. You'll notice those $.99 phones and "free" phones that AT&T and other big name cell phone companies sell are affordable, but at the risk of all the features. 'Dumb' phones will go away with time and the smart phone will abolish its first name. $.99 phones are smart phones, but you get what you pay for. Look at the iPhone 4. Smart phones have become so widely accepted in out daily lives, and as such, have evolved so much that the iPhone 4 with its so many great features is priced at $.99 with a 2 year contract.
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 06:52 PM   #20
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Oh yeah, data plans in America cost a fortune, forgot about that. In the UK and Europe it's dirt cheap and everyone here has smartphones, even young teenagers have at least a crappy BlackBerry with 500MB data for 5 a month.
Family plans and subsidies help drive down the average cost per line of cell phones in the USA

Its a dirty little secret in the USA among carriers when they were bragging each of them have 100 million customers.

That's why Verizon stopped reporting average per line and now only reports average revenue per account.

Once you get past 4 lines its far cheaper to be on family plans with most carriers in the USA when you also factor in the $400 subsidy for the iPhone.
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Old Mar 7, 2013, 11:55 AM   #21
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Family plans and subsidies help drive down the average cost per line of cell phones in the USA

Its a dirty little secret in the USA among carriers when they were bragging each of them have 100 million customers.

That's why Verizon stopped reporting average per line and now only reports average revenue per account.

Once you get past 4 lines its far cheaper to be on family plans with most carriers in the USA when you also factor in the $400 subsidy for the iPhone.
Yep. I'm on a family plan with 3 friends and my iPhone unlimited data, unlimited texting, unlimited any mobile calling with 700 shred anytime. My individual portion is $55. Works out terrifically :-).
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Old Mar 7, 2013, 01:56 PM   #22
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Both of my parents still have feature phones. My dad is easing up on the idea of getting a smart phone for email purposes.....but the cost of data on Verizon is sky high. I'm the only one on our plan with data and I (luckily) still have my unlimited data for $30/month.
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Old Mar 7, 2013, 07:09 PM   #23
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On the contrary, data prices and smartphone prices could come down a lot in future.

You can buy a gs2 for $150 or less now and that is a pretty powerful phone. Hook it up to wifi whenever you feel the urge to go online and use it as a phone and text device otherwise. I bet the 2-3 days battery life will be fine too.

And one can always turn off Internet if need be. As humans we always tend to blame technology than disciplining ourselves.
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Old Mar 7, 2013, 07:59 PM   #24
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I'm just skeptical enough to believe that the carriers are purposefully squeezing decent feature phones off their shelves so you'll be forced to have a data plan. There's two people in my house (wife and son) who have no need what-so-ever for data, but there's no feature phone out there worth a crap, so now they both have my old iPhones and ATT's lowest data plan.
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Old Mar 7, 2013, 08:16 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by mrsir2009 View Post
I'm actually coming round to the idea of getting a fliptop again... But the current ones are all $89 garbage. If only someone made a premium one
There's a $150 one!
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