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Feature phones competing neck to neck with Smartphones  

There is a whole conversation going on about who aces the competition - the old feature mobiles devices that comes with durability and a good battery life or the new advanced feature packed smartphones. But while the two have a lot in common, they also lead users to different experiences.

While the feature phone is famous among the users who prefer durability and convenience more over the style and complexity, on other hand smartphones are most acclaimed among the users who prefer style, looks, apps, specification and more. Thereby, the two masters well in their field.

When we talk about the usage, many people still opt to use devices which they can easily afford and fulfill their basic requirements such as internet, call and other uses. However, since their introduction, the smartphones have garnered all the mainstream attention where it appeared like the feature phone is losing its impression. But one cannot deny the fact that Feature phones have continued to make its impact in the Indian Market. 

Before talking about the two in detail let’s have a brief about the two. Talking about the definition in simple layman’s terms - Smartphones are mobile devices that carry variety of features like specification and comes with multiple app features, while on other hand feature phone devices come with basic limited features and specifications. In comparison to the minimal specifications of feature phone, the smartphone often carries more advance tech specifications. Also, while the smartphones run on third party operating system, the feature phones do not support any third party software. However, with the constant evolution in technology, the arena of feature phone is also expanding.

Though it lacks the advanced and innovative functionality like in smartphones, there are multiple characteristics of feature phones which will never end its craze among the users. The easier to use characteristic of Feature phone makes it popular among a certain segment of people like elderly persons and people who prefer easy to use device, as they couldn’t understand the complexities of smartphones. Hence, less complexity and easier to use features make these type of devices popular among the users. Also unlike smartphones they do not need regular software updates.

Feature phone vs Smartphone

On the contrary, though smartphone is not user-friendly like Feature phone but it serves as a mini computer. It gives the pleasure equivalent to working on a computer. Smartphone users can easily download, view, edit word document, excel sheets, .pdfs etc.  Whereas, though Feature phone cannot be a mini computer but it serves the purpose to some extent.      

In today’s world, people are connected to each other for almost every day, every minute and every second through various means like social media, chatting apps, voice calls, messages, video calls and even mails. It has become imperative for an individual to remain connected 24/7. Communication is now the biggest tool for people to be ahead in life’s race. A Smartphone offers its users all the bliss when it comes to communication. This device satiates the user’s appetite of connecting with the rest of the world. In this regard Feature phones are no less than Smart phones but the quality and the user experience of these applications might differ.  

As life is moving ahead on a fast pace, people are also looking for faster devices, handsets, cars etc. for their daily requirements. To run various applications on a handset all it requires is a high-speed internet connection. The new age smartphones are equipped with latest technology that supports 3G and 4G network for better internet experience. On the other hand Feature phones are unable to provide lightening speed internet connectivity but few telecom players has taken up the initiative to upgrade the feature phones keeping the demand in mind that still exists in the market. The companies are providing Feature phones with 4G VoLTE to keep this segment of phone users at par with the latest range of smartphones at a fraction of cost.  


While talking about internet connection, another feature that requires attention is battery life as people face some major issues around it. A good battery keeps the phone alive throughout a busy day with a single charge. The Smart phone users have always been complaining about the inefficient battery which needs to be charged often. Though the Smartphone companies have introduced features like fast charging to get the batteries charged within no time but still the users are not satisfied with the battery performance. In turn they needs to always carry a batter backup for emergency. Whereas, it is a very satisfying experience for Feature phone users as these handsets offers a robust battery life and with a single charge can remain alive for a day or more depending on the usage.  


Today, data is important for every individual. It can be of any kind, be it document, pictures, video etc.  Humongous amount of data is being generated everyday and people always want their data to be at fingertip. And for this a good storage memory is required. Here, the Smartphones have an upper hand on Feature phones as many handset companies are focusing on huge storage space to meet the customer demand. But Feature phone are not lagging behind much. Though it does not offer huge internal memory but the option of extending the storage space is always there with the help of external memory card.        

With the wave of digitization and also triggered by demonetization, India has rapidly started using E – wallets and transforming the country into a cashless economy. In this regard Smartphones users are the fast adopters of this technology with the use of different E- Wallet applications. It will not take much time when the Feature phone users will be empowered with it as many telecom players and handset makers together are coming up with low cost handsets where E – wallet are embedded in it. So then not only the Smartphone but also Feature phone users will contribute to make India a cashless economy.          

It is a feel good factor when a user uses a high-end Smartphone as the user experience of these devices is very satisfying.  But the smarter the device is, the more it burns the pocket of its owners when it comes to servicing of a smart device. Users feel the heat when these smartphones need to get repaired at the service stations. Whereas, feature phones are not expensive in terms of servicing, it can be easily afforded by the users.   

Last but not the least and the major differentiator among the Smartphone and Feature phone is the price. It is the game of price and features. The more money one can spend the advanced and cutting-edge technology features one will get while buying a handset. This does not mean Feature phones do not offer better specifications, it too offers updated features. Feature phones are value for money devices. It provides latest features at pocket-friendly price. 


It is true that Smartphones are technologically superior and provides good user experience but Feature phones are no less than these smart handsets. It may not be as smart as a Smartphone but it fulfills the requirements of the users. 

As per Cyber Media Research, in 2015-16, till November, the sales of Feature phones were higher than smartphones with 25 million as against 19 million respectively. Furthermore, the roll out of feature phones by telecom players like Reliance Jio with 4G capability and mobile banking proves that the era of feature phones still exist. Features phones have not lost their grounds in front of Smartphones. 

Apart from this, the other reasons behind the strong presence of Feature phones in the market being demand of low cost handsets that are easy to operate and the trend of keeping a second handset, generally a Feature phone is encouraging the Feature phone market to remain floating.