More consumers will opt for feature phone with next purchase, survey shows
Despite the proliferation of the smartphone and all the attention paid to mobile operating systems that
make the devices faster and more power, a majority of consumers will opt for a feature phone when
making their next mobile phone purchase, according to a survey recently conducted by Compete.com.
In polling 2,639 wireless device users, the website found that 65 percent plan to purchase a feature
phone next, ignoring the hype surrounding the iPhone and Android-based devices.
Of the four major mobile carriers, the desire for a feature phone was strongest among Verizon Wireless
customers. Fifty-five percent of those users said they will go with a feature phone. The figure stood at 51
percent for both AT&T and T-Mobile customers, while it slightly dropped to 49 percent for Sprint users.
The most common reason given for forgoing a smartphone was the cost of the devices and plans to go
with them. Many smartphones are more expensive than their feature phone counterparts, and the same
is true for data plans that allow smartphone users to download applications and surf the mobile web.
Respondents also didn't believe a smartphone offered them features they needed or couldn't get from a
feature phone. Still others, didn't identify as being tech savvy enough to take advantage of a
smartphones features and uses.
"I've had the phone for a week and a) I still don't have it fully set up with my contacts installed, linked to
their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn profiles and b) I still haven't figured out where half the the
shortcuts/bells/whistles are for the 50-ish apps that were pre-installed," Julie Bort recently wrote for
Network World, chronicling her own shift from feature to smartphone.
The survey also tracked trends among current smartphone users. Of the current Android users that were
polled, 49 percent had upgraded from a feature phone. Thirteen percent had switched from a
The feature phone may not be making a full-fledged comeback any time soon, but it is earning some
more attention recently. Facebook, which rules the social media landscape on nearly every platform,
recently released an application designed specifically for feature phone users. Like its counterpart for
smartphones, the Facebook App for Feature Phones allows for quick and easy checking of a user's
profile, status and news feed.
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