Are Feature Phones the Next Big Thing?
By James Grahame
I did something unusual the other day and charged up an old Nokia phone that's been lying around the house for at least five years. After a few exhilarating minutes wasted playing Snake, I decided to try using it as my main phone for a while.
And so -- on day three -- my fancy smartphone is sitting impatiently in its charging cradle, while I wander around town with my tiny little old-fashioned phone. It doesn't do maps or email, nor will it play fancy games or allow me to Tweet. But the battery should last a couple of weeks, and it turns out that I can still text at a reasonable pace using the keypad and T9 text recognition.
Perhaps this is the logical backlash as smartphones seem to be getting ever larger -- last year 4.5-inches was all the rage, this year it seems that everything has at least a 5-inch screen. While the computing experience is undoubtedly awesome, I simply don't need to tote a monster tablet phone wherever I go.
And so far so good. I still get twitchy when I have to entertain myself somewhere for a few minutes and can't revert to scanning email or watching YouTube videos starring Romanian jugglers with flaming kittens. But I'm doing alright. My biggest fear is actually that I'll suddenly need a map, and Google Maps will be nowhere to be found. Even that panic is a tad unfounded since I have a perfectly good Garmin GPS unit for the car.
I've even found myself lusting after the stunning new aluminum-skinned Nokia 515 candy bar phone -- sadly only available on the grey market in North America.
Now all that remains to be seen is whether my new low-tech phone habit can be sustained. So how about you? Do you ever get the urge to leave your snazzy smartphone at home in favor of something old fashioned?