Feature Phone: The Flag Bearer of Mobile Phone Industry

by July 13, 2018 0 comments

2017 recorded a slow growth in the sale of smartphones that paved way for features phones to take over the market. Where the first quarter of 2018 showed a tremendous growth for the feature phone segment, according to CyberMedia Research.

The recent launch of Jio Phone – a feature phone by Reliance Industries – has created much buzz around these basic mobile phones.

Even Google plans to use its Android software for the so-called dumb phones, which are certainly not dumb.

Reasons Behind The Feature Phone Trend

It was in the late 90s that the first feature phone was launched by Motorola. Since then the process of communication has become simpler and simpler.

The major market share in the mobile industry belongs to smartphones, still, these dumb phones get enough attention in tier 2&3 cities. They have maintained a stature due to some amazing facilities that only a feature phone can offer.

“A gradual movement towards smartphones to feature phones is expected owing affordability of smartphones and basic phones cost much less in comparison. Feature phones offer much longer battery back-up as compared to smartphones and are much more user-friendly for senior citizens as they find it hard to adapt themselves to a touch-based smartphone,” said Gaurav Nigam, Lava International.

Strengthening the reasons that make features phones favourite amongst people, Goutam Kumar Jain, M-tech Informatics remarked, “Majority of the population still resides in Tier 2 & 3 towns and rural areas where incomes are low making them extremely price sensitive markets and affordability of feature phones makes them appealing. Also, increase in awareness of the features of these phones including simplicity and convenience of its use, strong battery life, ease of repair, low data tariffs allowing for basic internet and essential apps usage  continue to drive growth in the feature phone segment.”

Further, a spokesperson from Detel added another perspective that could lead the trend of dumb phones. He said besides being a mode of communication, feature phone serve as a secondary phone for people. The demand for them has grown over the past few years owing to the increased usage of mobile phones. With feature phones being revamped and re-launched by some brands and with the introduction of the latest technological features by others, feature phones are here to stay.”

Future Innovations By Mobile Phone Brands

According to a internal research by BRITZO,  85% of urban users own a handset and more than 50% of this population also owns a Feature Phone. It comes out to be an interesting revelation and emphasizes a strong future growth for feature phones.

And when discussed the future innovations that the mobile phone brands could incorporate, this what they had to say –

A spokesperson from Tambo Mobiles commented,“The ‘convenience of using phones’ was at the core of our phones’ design. One of the central ideas is to build a phone that helps in India’s accelerated growth and improved digital literacy. We named our feature phones as Powerphones because they have strong battery backup, and are feature rich, which includes powerful sound, engineering, design, and an overall look that inspires confidence. It is also for the people in the metropolitans who use them as their secondary phone. Tambo’s Powerphones supports 22 languages. Our Powerphones also have picture phonebook, OTG support, and smart lock. We are also developing premium designs in the Powerphones range.”

Pradipto Ganguly of Britzo also believes that with all the current trends the future of basic mobile phones seems to be pretty bright. As Britzo too launched a feature phone that is Smart Feature Phones power-packed with innovative features. They have developed a Smart Store on a 2G Feature Phone. Smart store enables consumers to download relevant apps, songs & videos.

The spokesperson from Ziox considers that the growing needs of the customers force the brands to adopt the feature phones as a field of new inventions in terms of connectivity, speed and elaborative reach. “Various brands are now investing in focusing on giving dumb phones similar configurations to smartphones as it would indirectly reach out to the target audience. This is done through upgrades – launching more feature phone handsets with multiple series.”

Furthermore, according to the reports, Nokia will enable the usage of WhatsApp on its latest Nokia basic phones – Nokia 8110 feature phone. The latest Jio feature phone too can create an atmosphere of excitement and activity.

On the whole, the feature phone/ basic mobile phones/ dumb phone market in India seems booming in the near future.

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