My friend, Kathleen Ndongmo, wrote an interesting lifestyle piece about why she recently ditched smartphones for featurephones. She used to own a BlackBerry, but replaced it with a lowly Nokia 6303i. Her reasons include freedom from nursing a smartphone, portability, and security/privacy issues. You should read her piece titled “Long live Dumbphones!”
I will not be addressing her reasons for crossing over to the dark side. Those will be for other articles. In this article, I am exploring why I would consider using a dumbphone today. I do not see myself dumping smartphones entirely like she has done, but I do know that in recent times, I have considered using a feature phone as my primary mobile phone. Come with me as I paint the picture.
I have a tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook, that does a good job of giving me all smartphone functionality minus voice calls and SMS. It also does a fairly good job of replacing my laptop for most tasks. I also carry a BlackBerry smartphone which is a perfect companion to the PlayBook. I am able to share my BlackBerry internet subscription with the PlayBook, among other benefits. My BlackBerry is not my primary mobile, so I do not use it for calls and SMS.
My primary mobile at the moment is a Samsung Galaxy S II, and for the most part apart from voice calls and SMS, it is just generally lying idle. I barely touch it anymore. Get the picture? I can easilly replace the S II with say a Nokia Asha 302 without missing anything, afterall, my primary phone is required for only voice calls and SMS. I very well intend to. Nokia only needs to implement Mail for Exchange as promised, so that I can sync my contacts and calendars with the device, and I am good to go.
Between my BlackBerry and PlayBook, my mobile office and entertainment needs are met. For voice and SMS, I really do not need more than a dumbphone. Of course, I also want to use a dumbphone as an everyday phone, so as to have some more insight into what roughly 90% of Nigerian mobile subscribers use every day.
Back to Kathy though, I wonder how well and for how long she can cope with the more limited experience of a dumbphone without another smarphone to fall back on. Twitter? Facebook? WhatsApp? Without multi-tasking, switching between those tasks will be a bit frustrating and of course slower than what she is used to. Also, the regular phone keypad would just kill me immediately. Any feature phone that I use must have a hardware QWERTY keyboard. It is why I am eyeing the Asha 302.
For different reasons, and from different perspectives, both Kathleen and I say, Long live dumbphones!
How about you? Would you dump your smartphone for a feature phone under any circumstances?