Do you remember there was a time back in the 90s when mobile phones used to be quite bulky with a small screen but considerably large dial pads? Then in the towards the 2000s, our mobile phones started to get smaller and slimmer, they did look smart (but nobody called them smartphones). Then after the introduction of the smartphones that we know today, the mobile phones started to become large again only this time most of the size was dedicated to the screen. The evolution of mobile phones is really interesting and just within the space of a few decades the design, look and feel, size and many other aspects of mobile phones have dramatically changed. But, even today, we still see those smaller and slimmer phones (just like the 2000s) and there are many people who prefer to use them also.
Obviously, mobile phone manufacturers didn’t do all this just for fun. All this change has been a result of our evolving needs as we become more and more digital and can’t live without staying connected at all times. The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” fits perfectly here.
Having said that, the definition of “staying connected” may differ depending on who you ask. For some, it may just mean something as simple as being contactable. Sometimes, we just need our mobile phones to be able to perform the most basic tasks such as making and receiving phone calls in a simplified way. The mobile phone industry today is dominated by touchscreen phones where a wide range of phone manufacturers are producing a large number of smartphones with an abundance of high-tech features. Interestingly, not all of us require all of these features all the time. In some situations, people use mobile phones as a “wireless” alternative to the good old fixed phones where the most important feature is a reliable connection that allows you to be able to speak to other people in decent quality. If you identify yourself as someone with that sort of need or preference, then we may be able to recommend something for you. But first, let’s clarify a few things. After the introduction of smartphones, the mobile industry started to recognise the earlier mobile phones (the ones that look like from the 2000s) as ‘feature phones’.
So, what exactly is a feature phone?
The feature phones are the simpler version of mobile phones that provide basic features such as voice calls, text messages, and possibly limited web services. Typically, a customer can make and receive phones calls by using buttons instead of having to swipe somewhere on the screen. They can also send and receive text messages through the traditional SMS service (Short Message Service). Feature phones also include built-in mobile applications and a web browser. All the mobile applications are installed on the feature phones directly by the manufacturer, and the users are not required (or able) to download or install any apps.
Just like any mobile phone, the customers require a SIM card to go into the mobile phone in order to connect to the network. Once the mobile phone is connected to the network, the customers are able to use all the key features including voice calls, text messages, and basic web browsing etc. Most feature phones also have a built-in FM radio as an added value.
As feature phones are slightly smaller in size as compared to smartphones, it is easier to find phones that feel comfortable in hands. By the same token, you need to make sure that the phone has a decent-sized dial pad and a large enough screen. Depending on the user of the phone e.g. an elderly family member, the “assistance” feature may be of interest also which allows the phone user to be able to make a phone call to any pre-selected contacts by simply pressing a button. There are many feature phones available on the market, but if we had to choose one that we have ourself purchased and felt comfortable with, it would be Doro 6520.
What is not a feature phone?
The other mobile phones that don’t come under the category of “feature phones” are “smartphones”. Smartphones are the mobile phones that we most commonly see nowadays with all the cool apps and touchscreen features. These are the advanced mobile phones with computer-like capabilities in addition to the basic phone features. These advanced internet-enabled phones allow users to be able to install software applications (also known as apps) directly on the phone from the app stores. Smartphones are available in various price ranges and most of them (if not all) have a touch-screen capability. Just like feature phones, smartphone users can also make and receive regular voice calls, and send and receive text messages (SMS). The key difference, other than the design/touchscreen etc., is that the users can also access advanced applications and browse the mobile web just like they would on a computer. Through the use of specific apps, these phones make it easier for users to access internet-based voice calling and messaging services. Email and satellite navigation are among the other services that smartphones enable in an easy to use way.
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