Do feature phones still exist? Yes, they do, and people are buying them, too.
As reported by The Motley Fool, “Microsoft through its acquisition of Nokia’s handset business is now one of the largest feature phone makers in the world.” Why is a company like Microsoft still investing into feature phones when smartphones have already killed them?
Microsoft recently launched Nokia 230 which will cost the buyers $55. These new phones, Nokia 230 and Nokia 230 dual SIM, are not exactly feature phones; they are smartphones. Unlike old Microsoft’s Nokia phones, users will be able to download apps, surf the Internet and search the web. When it comes to screen size and resolution, they are still old-fashioned. They sport 2.8-inch screens and 240 by 320 pixel resolution.
So why would Microsoft Corporation still be interested in making such phones? Because there is still a market out there that prefers feature phones over smartphones, or shall we say, the cheapest of devices? If you are giving them smartphone features in a feature phone, they would be more than happy, but would not consciously add a few pennies and switch to a low-end device.
The report published by The Motley Fool mentions, “According to research firm eMarketer, only about a fifth of mobile users in India used smartphones last year, compared to two-thirds in America. Pew Research Center estimates that across seven sub-Saharan African nations, 65% of people still use feature phones.”
Microsoft, by making confused phones, is offering customers what they want by selling what the company aims to sell in the future. At a price as low as $55, users get Microsoft’s apps like Bing and MSN weather. The long-term plan is to mentally prepare customers to buy a Windows 10 phone when they finally get their proper smartphone.
Will this strategy work? We are not sure whether these feature phone buyers will in the future buy Windows 10 phones because they are using Microsoft’s apps today. But the fact is, a large number of people still buy small-screened, old-fashioned handsets when smartphones with bigger screens and better features are available in the market. By making a product for these customers, Microsoft is surely earning a good amount of money.