The future of mobile phones in much of the world will look a lot like devices of the recent past, according to a new report.
As millions of users come online across the world in India and Africa, ‘dumb phones’ — as opposed to the hyper-connected and increasingly sophisticated smart phones — have found a burgeoning new market.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the pared down devices, which look similar to mobile phones of yore from Motorola and Nokia, have become particularly popular due to their accessible price point — some of them sell for about $25 — and their cheap access to unlimited data.
While the devices don’t offer the same functionality as their bigger and more expensive smart phone counterparts, they offer users some benefits in addition to the basic calling and texting.
‘Smart feature phones’ as they’re known give users access to many apps, which may include YouTube, Facebook, and WhatsApp — the latter of which recently tweaked their platform to be accessible via the style of device according to WSJ.
The phone’s also boast longer battery life — lasting for days at a time depending on the user and device — and are often operated via a physical keyboard as opposed to a touchscreen, making the technology easier to use among those not accustomed to interfacing with smart devices.
According to WSJ, around 84 million of the smart feature phones are expected to be shipped this year.
The phones have proven to be popular among residents in countries who earn the least amount of money annually according to WSJ.