When will there be no more “dumb” phones

Saw this question raised on a blog post from WhatsApp

“2003: Dell, Inc. no longer includes floppy on their home computers.
2007: Last CRT television set sold by UK DSG (Dixons).
2008: Last standalone JVC VHS-only unit was produced.
20XX: Last non-Smartphone mobile phone is produced.

So, when do you think we will see the end of “dumb” mobile phones? I think 2014 – am I overly optimistic in my estimate?”

I think this is a really interesting question. Looking at the dates above it becomes clear that even when technologies become virtually obsolete, it takes a while for people to stop using them and so whilst there is still demand, manufacturers will still make them.

I think he is very optimistic in his estimate. Smartphones still do not represent the majority of new phones – in the first quarter of this year they represented 54 million out of 314 million world wide mobile phone sales. This was a significant increase, but they still have a long way to go before they become the de-facto choice.

A number of audiences will contribute to the continued sales of conventional mobile phones.

1) Oldies – people who don’t see the need for a £400 phone when all they want to do is make calls
2) People who need a battery to last longer than half a day and need their phone to be robust and don’t care if it looks cool or not
3) Populations of second and third world countries that are only just getting onto the telecomms ladder who will not be able to afford smartphone tech for a long while to come.

There are loads more I’m sure, but that’s just a few billion people who won’t be buying a smartphone any time soon, but have a use for a conventional phone.

I reckon 2020 at the earliest. Anyone have an opinion?

One thought on “When will there be no more “dumb” phones

  1. eiither it will be sooner, or it is never going to happen. my money is on sooner in this case. but the driver will be a combination of cheap/free technology and some kind of rather dull but invaluable and intuitive killer application

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