Why are people still buying feature phones?

Why are people still buying feature phones?


 The smartphone in your pocket can calculate billions of rupees in seconds. 3D games with unprecedented video quality can be played.


Information and events from around the world can be found instantly. You can also take quality photos like a DSLR camera from a smartphone. You can easily get a smartphone with all these capabilities and qualities at a price of over ten thousand.



However, Nokia's feature phone market has not declined yet. Who buys such feature phones? Why buy? Today we will discuss this topic with you.


Feature Phone: Abridged History

In the 1990s and 2000s, the world was divided into two poles due to mobile. One on the phone and the other on the rest.

The phone was a joy to people. But it was not so sophisticated. Phone calls and text messages were exchanged. Remember Nokia 3310 and Motorola's star TAC.

As time went on, these feature phones came with the facility of video and photo messaging. Basic web browsing was also made possible by technologies such as the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).

But due to high data value and low quality, people could not be attracted to these feature phones at the same level. Most people now rarely use such phones for communication.

On the other hand, an interesting class was emerging. It was a device like a pocket laptop, Nokia Communicator, PCN Series Five and Venerable BlackBerry. After a while, modern touchscreen based smartphones started coming.

Which contained HP's cell capable PDA. As the year 2000 began, the feature phone market began to move towards newer phones that looked like their expensive and sophisticated versions. The LG Rainier phone came in 2008 with a full touchscreen display, replacing the T9 keyboard.




In the UK, 3G at the time offered Skype calling on phones. At the same time, Motorola Rocker has provided MP3 playback service by adjusting the function of cell phone and iPod.

At that time, miraculous devices like Nokia's A Gauge and LG's NV also came. It was an interesting time when different types of devices appeared. But that was not to be.

By the end of that decade, the smartphone market had grown. Because these phones were getting cheaper. Companies were changing the public perception that these phones were for business only.

The best example of this is BlackBerry. As BlackBerry's Qwerty Cloud phone is a budget line phone, like the BlackBerry Curve, it also reached from the office to the street. Meanwhile, in 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone.

Then HTC also brought the first Android phone. The value of data was also declining. Network service providers started offering ample MB data at affordable prices.

This was the turning point in the transition from feature to smartphone culture. By the second quarter of 2013, the smartphone market had overtaken the feature phone market.

Feature phone in 2020

It is not factual to say that the feature phone is completely lost. Not only do these phones exist, they are also evolving at their own pace.

Such phones are still popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Cheap Android phones in those areas are also very expensive for many.

In the second quarter of 2019, feature phones accounted for about 58.3 percent of the market. But this is an easily lost figure.

It is interesting to note that a large digital economy is concentrated in these basic devices. The best example of this is Empesa (digital wallet).

It would be appropriate to explain that Empesa was an answer for Venmo (digital wallet). Founded in 2005 by Vodafone and Safaricom, the service has been serving customers in many African countries, including Kenya and Tanzania.

Money can be exchanged through SMS. Speaking of countries in the West, there are feature phones in different states. These phones are the choice of senior citizens. But less in the choice of technology-savvy young people.

Nostalgia is also a factor. Many of today's feature phones are improved versions of older phones. Nokia is bringing modern versions of its older phones 3310, 8110 and 5310.

These are all basic devices. But these phones have color screen, music playback and simple camera everything.

Most people are also interested in feature phones because of their antique and retro features. But since smartphones are very sensitive, many are even keeping it as a backup phone.

 Neither smart nor feature

These phones give a glimpse of the era ahead of smartphones. It has Square display and T-Nine keyboard features.

But these phones also have the same app as modern phones like App Store, Voice Assistant, Web Browser, Over the Air Updates and Video Streaming.

The important thing is that these phones have normal hardware but they are powered by an operating system like Kai. MTN Smart for example.

Mozilla tried to bring Kai as a competitor to Android and iOS. But Mozilla shut down the project in 2017 due to a lack of public attraction.

But this story does not end there. Mozilla took Slack in hand and broke the source code into a new project called B2G (Boot to Gecko) OS. That later became the basis for Kai OS.

In May last year, Kai OS announced that it had surpassed 100 million devices. In places like India, mobile access is becoming cheaper.


Of course, that number is even higher now. As a result, Kai OS is now receiving traction from Google and Facebook.

What is the future of feature phones?

Guessing the future of feature phones doesn't look good in the long run. This mid-level effort by KIOS is itself losing market share.

Google and Android are another factor. Those who are planning to invest in cheap, but capable phones.

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