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back to article Global smartphones sales set to outpace standard handsets in 2013

While the lion's share of the world's six billion mobile phone users are still on plain-old feature phones, sales of those handsets' smarter successors will become the majority in 2013, according to the latest predictions from IDC. The analyst house reports that for the first time, 50.1 per cent of all mobile sales are expected …

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Definition please

How does one define a smart phone? Does something like a Nokia Asha 201 (basic qwertyphone with no 3G or wi-fi) count?

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Re: Definition please

Keypad. Internet connection. Browser. Maps. GPS. Email.

That sort of stuff.

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Re: Definition please

It's something of a vague distinction, like boat vs ship.

The key idea behind a smartphone is a phone which incorporates computer tasks. The sharpest distinguishing single feature you could point to is the ability to handle third party apps (although stuff like BREW blurs the line anyway). Data (esp email and browsing) is also characteristic.

Not sure about the Asha phone, but your description sounds like a featurephone.

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Re: Definition please

It's mostly marketing fluff like 4G.

Just look at Bell Canada, they now sell smart phones (HSPA "4G") and "Super Phones" (LTE) and I expect them to claim 5G any second now.

There is no definition. Obvious at the extream ends, but just a big gray blob in the middle so they can draw the line where ever they want to get the 50%+ calm.

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Re: Definition please

There's no formal definition, but if you had to go for one distinction I'd say heavy internet support, so that covers browsing, email, downloadable apps etc.

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Re: Definition please

I think it is a worthless distinction anymore, so I ignore any market share/growth data about smartphones and look at the entire mobile market. In a few years every phone will be a "smartphone", at least by the definition we were using five years ago. But analysts will probably have moved the goalposts so they can keep talking about it.

I wouldn't personally consider anything that used WAP for browsing as a smartphone, because IMHO it was essentially useless. I used it to check the radar when I was out on the golf course and dark clouds appeared on the horizon, that's it. That pretty much knocks out everything before iPhone (I don't know if iPhone was the first phone that used a real browser, but assuming there were others before it they didn't predate it by much) Clearly there were phones 10+ years ago that people considered "smartphones", even though they were total crap compared to the dumbest smartphone you can buy today, but they were surely a lot smarter than the other phones you could get back then.

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Re: Definition please

It's not just marketing fluff. It's very useful to distinguish between phones which are used for computing and telephony vs phones which are used for only telephony. The lack of a clear line between the two is a huge nuisance, and that's driven in part by marketing, but the concept doesn't originate with marketers.

As for 3G/4G etc, those are not only not marketing terms, but they're actually strictly defined. In order to be 4G you have to be using certain technologies and providing certain minimum speeds, ditto 3G.

Now, Bell Canada is a serious claimant to 'worst corporate citizen on Earth' so it's not really a surprise that they ruin everything. As long as the CRTC protects them from the legal accountability a normal corporation has, there's not a lot you can do to stop them advertising Hondas with stickers on the bumper as Ferraris. Write your MP.

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very vague

It can't be anything to do with data or having a browser, I've had data on every phone I've owned and GPRS since my T39. I definitely had email on an early Sony Ericsson, maybe the K700. The original iPhone didn't have GPS so that can't be a requirement. The original iPhone also had no way to handle 3rd party apps (how's that going to take off?) and most phones can handle java apps including web browsers and maps.

It seems that a smartphone is one that has an OS, but that would mean that what we think of as feature phones are most likely smartphones.

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Re: very vague

Don't think the original iPhone was a smartphone in many people's books. Edge case at best.

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the definition I would use

If it can easily run multiple applications at once, I would define it as a smart phone. If it can only single task, I would call it a feature phone.

I wouldn't call the early iPhones smart phones.

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Anonymous Coward

No thanks

I like my phone. It's just a phone. I only have to charge it once or twice a week.

The only thing that would tempt me would be a decent camera. Every time I think I've found one, I find reviews slating it for various reasons, usually battery life that barely makes it through the day. I can live without that much hassle. I just don't see the need. I can surf on other devices, my phone just needs to be a... phone.

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greed and fools

"Global smartphones sales set to outpace standard handsets in 2013"

Of course, because phone shops don't sell normal cellphones anymore. So everybody is pushed towards "smartphones" even the people whom don't want them. For instance when my mom's SE T715 featurephone broke down there was still an excellent SE Elm, Hazel (the direct replacement for her model) or Cedar featurephone model on SE-website but in stores it was all Samsung galaxy mini (and derivatives) or Xperia's. Which are useless for elderly people whom just want to call or get called.

This is the same situation as with computers a few years back. Government agencies, banks and companies pushing people to use a PC to do the work that these agencies are supposed to do for us (and sometimes even get paid for by us).

So the big question is not. Whether the sales of smartphones will overtake featurephones but will these smartphones actually be used as smartphones (and thus generate additional profit with sales of optional "apps" and data-plans which is in reality where this is all about) and are punters happy with this?

"Nokia used to be very strong in Asia and India with its feature phone models, but corporate shenanigans and the switch to Windows Phone have hurt it badly."

The latter has been countlessly mentioned to Nokia by ALL die-hard Nokians. They should have utilised Windows Phone devices as a complementary product to broaden their product portfolio. Instead of replacing a mature solid product and an almost finished future proof product with a crippled walled garden immature featureless block of tiles.

Nokia's leadership are just a bunch of incompetent fools.

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