Smart vs Dumb phones

While it’s fun to watch the iPhone vs. Android battle happen in real time, the one type of phone I am always amazed to see crop up again and again is the “dumbphone,” or the old school cell phone – flip style, candy bar, 8-bit ringtone retro goodness.
That got me thinking. Was I so caught in the app store, cloud syncing and text talk bubble hype that I missed dumbphones making a comeback?
Turns out they never left.

Last month ExtremeTech reported that a total of 1 billion feature phones (which are just a smidgen less dumb than dumbphones) were sold in 2011. Contrast that with a total of 250 million Android phones and 120 million iPhones. Another interesting thing: Profit margins are better for these retro units than they are for newer ones: Nokia makes more from a $50 phone than Samsung does with a $200+ smartphone. True, most dumbphone sales are in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil where lower costs are crucial.  Point is that while all the media hype is about Apple and Smartphones, the reason they get such attention is that the phone companies make more money on these with their data plans in the long run.

1 Comment

  1. So…what’s your point???

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