07 August 2016 ~ 3 Comments

Top 5 Dumb Phones

Smartphones, with a plethora of high-tech features, are seen by many as the ultimate tools for communication in a modern “connected” era. The truth is that we have become slaves to the devices which were meant to free us from static desk based communication.

Earlier this year, actor Eddie Redmaine, replaced his iPhone for an analogue handset so that he could, as he put it, live “in the moment”.

“I tried switching back to a simple, old-fashioned handset in place of a smartphone. It was a reaction against being glued permanently to my iPhone during waking hours. The deluge of emails was constant and I found myself trying to keep up in real time, at the expense of living in the moment.”

Research seems to confirm that the “always on” culture, which is largely based on our reliance on smartphones, is making us more anxious and unhappy.

In this article we look at the ten best dumbphones you could consider if you wish to ditch your smartphone and start living in the moment.


Only £74.00

The CAT B30 from construction industry giants CAT is a no-nonsense waterproof phone which will survive the toughest environments.

The specifications are very basic with 3G connectivity, a 2MP camera, MP3/MP4 playback and a safety flashlight. This is the phone for the outdoor adventurer or construction worker.

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Nokia 515

Only £149.99

If battery life is what you want, then the Nokia 515 is the perfect choice.

It has an impressive 33-day battery life. It comes with a 5-megapixel camera, dual SIM and has a MicroSD slot that can take up to 32GB.

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Doro Secure 580

Only £94.99

The Doro Secure 580 is designed for the older user who requires simplicity in design and functionality above all else.

It has four speed dial keys and an assistance button that links with the phone’s GPS to alert people where you are.

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Nokia 216

Only £29.99

The budget beating Nokia 216 has a battery life of 24 days – the equivalent of 18 hours of talking or 47 hours of music. It has some basic internet features and, although the low resolution 320 x 240 display will limit what you can do online, it is hard to beat the £29.99 price tag.

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Samsung E1270

Only £79.84

Samsung has always offered reliable and functional phones, and the Samsung E1270 flip-phone is an excellent choice if you are looking for basic text messaging, phone calls and the luxury of FM radio.

You will also have Sudoku for your leisure time and 11 hours of talk time.

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NoPhone ZERO

Finally – and officially not part of our Top 5 – if you really feel a strong desire to live off the cell phone grid you might be interested in the $5 NoPhone ZERO. It’s not actually a phone – it’s a plastic rectangle brick.

The official description from the manufacturers is that the NoPhone ZERO features no buttons, no logos and most importantly no phone. Running costs are also zero.

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03 December 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Two-thirds of Britons will own a smartphone by 2018

uk smartphone usage

The penetration of sophisticated mobile devices in developed countries is seeing a rapid rise with two thirds of Britons likely to own a smartphone by the end of 2018 and it is forecasted that half of the population will own a tablet before the New Year.

ZenithOptimedia’s New Media Forecast sees a continuing strong demand for mobile devices used to watch TV, play video and engage in social media and gaming. The surge in tablet usage has been exceptional, with the 51% of Britons likely to own a tablet by the end of the year compared to 3.5% five years ago. This gives the UK the seventh highest adoption of tablets in the world.

An interesting and unexpected finding revealed in the report is that smartphone adoption is highest in the Asia Pacific region and in Western Europe. The report expects these regions to maintain their lead for the next few years. The United States, which is usually viewed as the home of technology, is rated below these regions. Although it may be a major producer of technology, a lot of people in the country are not as committed to using the latest devices as are the citizens in Asia and Western Europe. This would suggest a significant digital divide in the USA, which is a little surprising.

The country with the highest smartphone penetration is Singapore which had an 89% penetration at the end of last year and because of government plans for universal Wi-Fi access this is expected to reach 97% by 2018.

Two unexpected regions with over 80% market penetration are Spain and Ireland with 86.7% and 83% smartphone usage respectively. It is interesting to speculate why two countries with a lower GDP than the UK have a higher smartphone market penetration. The report does not comment on this and one can only assume that the UK has a larger group of people who are not connected digitally. This could be a result of severe economic challenges people are experiencing as well as choices being made between the cost of survival and the cost of acquiring non-essential technology. Ireland experienced a technology boom a few years ago and this has possibly resulted in the country as a whole being more technologically developed than the UK.

A recent article in Independent.ie questions whether Dublin is set to overtake London as Europe’s technology hub. “The tech sector has really got Dublin through the bad times,” said Paul Finucane, director at Colliers International, “now Dublin is hot on the heels of London for the title of Europe’s Silicon Valley.”

The most important fact which emerges from the ZenithOptimedia report is that mobile technology has become one of the most important means to access digital services.

“The rapid spread of mobile technology is transforming media consumption and marketing communication across the world,” said Jonathan Barnard, ZenithOptimedia’s Head of Forecasting. “For more and more people, their smartphone or tablet is the first place they look for information or entertainment. Marketers need a mobile-first approach to communicate with these people effectively.”

When did you get your first smartphone? And how many people do you know who still don’t have one? Let us know in the comments below.

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28 December 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Nokia finally loses out to Samsung

samsung nokiaAfter a decent run of fourteen years at the top, Nokia has finally relinquished its crown as the world’s biggest mobile phone manufacturer. According to statistics from research company IHS iSuppli, Samsung is now the biggest global producer of mobile phones.

The results are unsurprising for many as Samsung has had another strong year despite legal protests from jealous rivals Apple. With the success of the flagship Galaxy SIII phone as well as a large variety of other Android handsets, Samsung’s sales have achieved a massive increase in 2012.

The data that was just released this month shows that Samsung’s market share (ranked by units shipped worldwide) will rise from 24% to 29% from 2011 to 2012. This makes it the first time the South Korean tech company has taken the top spot in the rankings. Global smartphone sales have massively risen this year and Samsung have been well positioned to capitalise on the 35% increase. Indeed, smartphone sales now represent almost half of all new mobile phone purchases and Samsung is doing better than anyone else in this area.

Similarly, we are starting to suspect that 2012 will be the beginning of the end for previously-dominant giant Nokia. The Finland-based company was caught out by the advent of the smartphone after dominating the market with its vast range of mobile phones. In a post-iPhone world, its struggled and failed to remain competitive. After tying itself to the ill-fated Windows Mobile operating system and with teething problems moving over, overall sales have plunged. Meanwhile, the older Symbian-based Nokia handsets are looking more and more dated and poor in comparison to modern smartphones.

Elsewhere, Apple raised its profile a decent amount with its share of mobile phone handset sales rising from 7% to 10% in 2012. Other leading manufacturers include ZTE Corporation an up-and-coming producer based in Shenzhen, China who remained with a respectable 6% market share. Taking fifth place is LG which is the second-largest electronics and technology company in South Korea.

This is the first time since 1998 that Nokia has not been the world’s biggest mobile phone seller. The end of its fourteen year reign is largely precipitated by its poor performance in the emerging smartphone market. Analyst Wayne Lam said that “Samsung’s successes and Nokia’s struggles this year were determined entirely by the two companies’ divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector”. A key emerging market is China where Android is completely dominant even though quite often you will find non-standard builds of the OS due to the lower popularity of Google services amongst Chinese users.

Looking at smartphone sales alone, Samsung is doing incredibly well. It has attained a massive increase in its share going from 20% in 2011 to 28% this year. Its increase provides some breathing room against arch-rival Apple who are stuck on 20% in 2012 compared to 19% last year. Samsung’s far greater rise can be attributed to its ability to produce new handsets for specific niches quickly and at a high quality and the markedly better performance and price point of its phones compared to the lacklustre iPhone models. Samsung’s decisive gains over Apple took place at both the upper end and lower end of the smartphone market thanks to its more diverse roster of handsets.

Despite this, it is important to realise that not much has changed overall – the smartphone market is still almost completely dominated by the Samsung/Apple duopoly. Together, the two companies account for almost half the smartphone sales now and this looks set to increase into 2013. Their main rivals have suffered in the last twelve months.

Nokia in particular has seen its market share take a steep dive. While it was selling 16% of all the smartphones worldwide last year and was not far behind Apple and Samsung, it now can only claim to sell 5%. This is roughly the same as the next two companies HTC and RIM. Both of these have also suffered a fall as they are being dominated by Samsung. RIM in particular is in a lot of trouble as the BlackBerry brand suffered some terrible press and people are increasingly starting to realise that proper smartphone as much more effective options for business use cases. Like IHS, we predict that the rise of the smartphone will accelerate even more into 2013 and that RIM and Nokia will do even worse than this year.

What about you? What are your thoughts on the figures from this research? Do you see a future for Nokia? What about RIM? And can Samsung stay ahead of the seemingly-infinite popularity of anything Apple puts out?

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