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The mobile phone superpower you have never heard of (jacquesmattheij.com)
29 points by RiderOfGiraffes 2492 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

2 problems I see with this market:

1. It's getting smaller. Maybe not right now - I don't know the numbers, but I could imagine that as more of the developing world gets 'dumb' phones, the proportion of dumb to smart phones will actually increase. However, long term, it's a shrinking market. To be fair, you could say that about nearly anything. Eventually there will be a disruption or a move to a newer technology. In this case, that movement is already happening, however.

2. Will 'dumb' phone users spend money like 'smartphone' users? If the point is just to make your app/site accessible to those users and gain market share, then it may not matter. But if you want to sell them anything, it very well may.

Regardless, the recommendation to "ensure that your web-based applications are compatible with Myriads [sic] browser" is sound and one we'd all do well to heed, if the market-share numbers make sense for you.

I think the argument that dumb phones are a huge growth market in the developing world is flawed. It's staggaring how many people have dumbphones already. I suspect the dumber of dumbphones in use will never double again.

Smartphones still have headroom to grow 10 or 20x.

I don't really understand - they've got an application that will run android apps on feature phones and possibly dumb phones? It is really hard to understand how that could work very well at all - wouldn't those phones generally lack the ram and cpu needed? Would they be replacing all the UI widgets etc with simpler ones and adjusting how much is shown on the screen at once? Maybe it's actually a porting tool - that would seem to make a bunch more sense to me.

Can anyone find a link explaining the technology more? Going over their website I can't seem to find evidence of the product at all. Maybe I'm not awake enough.

If I had to guess, I'd guess that the Android apps in question are implemented via a layer like Wine, and what it really gives you is an ability to target both a feature phone and an Android in one build target, rather than actually running in-the-wild Android apps on a feature phone, which even if it can technically do is probably not a desirable experience. Still, for some set of Android apps out there, what takes the CPU is mostly the graphical geegaws the core framework provides, and one could provide less processor intensive core framework geegaws just as Windows widgets have changed over the decades and you might salvage some useful apps that way, too.

It's not meant to be run on dumb phones. http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/08/myriad-alien-dalvik-runs-...

I think the relevance of technology like this is driven by the price floors of smartphones vs. not-so-smart phones.

A pre-paid phone somewhat similar to the once $300+ Motorola Razr is like $20 at Wal-Mart. If a low-rent Android device is priced similar in a few years, skinnyed down mobile software won't matter.

RAZRs were just over $500 when they initially came out in 2004.

I went into an AT&T store for an unrelated issue and there was literally a line out the door for people willing to pay out insane amounts of money for a status statement. I had a Nokia 3620 or something that would stomp circles around the RAZR, & I paid hundreds less.

I paid around $50 for my RAZR in 2006 (with a contract). As a phone, it's superior to my iphone 4. Doesn't do the other smartphone stuff nearly so well, though.

Yep, they rapidly dropped in price after the initial launch.

Here's an article about it, entitled "The Great RAZR Swindle":


I was just reading about Hecl (http://hecl.org/) yesterday and wondering whether it was an obsolete market due to the advent of the iPhone and Android (and regardless of the fact that I have a dumb phone, because when it comes to money outlay I'm a way late adopter) - and here comes Jacques to tell me it's not.


The Myriad Browser on my dumbphone wasn't too good, and it was also slow. Opera Mini (I used version 4) is faster (since it uses compression through Opera's servers) and has an overall nicer browsing experience.

The dumb phones of tomorrow are going to be the smart phones of today.

In other words. That superpower is bound to loose it's status unless it's able adopt to that mindset.

Interesting, front-page-worthy subject but holy god is that a badly written/"put-together" article.

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