I tried it for a week or so on a Nokia 301 and an example of a raw edge is that when using the music player and you accidentally remove the head phones, the music continues over the phone its speaker immediately. It should pause instead.
Isn't this the case for a lot of devices? Every desktop and laptop I've used, on Windows and Linux, follows this behavior.
Every Android that I've seen (incl. Nexus 4) tend to stop playing, if you remove a physical cable. Not nice. Especially if your headset is old and sometimes looses connection for a millisecond or two...
But much much worse, is when the Bluetooth is disconnected/connected. The thing stops playing. And upon connecting resets position to the start! And starts playing! So if you are listening to a 70 minutes chapter of an audiobook, suddenly you have to search for a precise minute in the chapter. A bit frustrating. And even dangerous, as you might have been driving a car at the time.
... sometimes makes me wonder just how many car crashes could have been prevented by a slightly better designed interface of Google Music ...
Audible app never looses position. But I do sometimes play MP3s... Is there Google audiobook player?
Question for those who use either iPhone or Android - do they have independent volume levels for speakers vs. headphones? I honestly just realized that I don't know.
And to think that I was annoyed that my phone didn't automagically spawn a third volume level for my bluetooth speakers:)
I can imagine that a software trick like that is patented by for example Apple who iirc were the first ones to have music pause when unplugging, and a license wasn't taken on the technology to cut costs.
I once biked too close to a fence in a crowded area, got caught and flipped the bike, and if that wasn't embarrassing enough, I was listening to some pretty terrible music at the time which then started blaring out of the speaker. I went back to my Sony Ericsson after that event. Didn't help that Sony Ericsson's dumbphone OS was better at multitasking J2ME apps than Symbian was at native apps (and in ways better than iOS 6 since it let me run an IRC app if I wanted to)
It feels like Nokia's missing the mark here though. Once you get below a certain threshold, you hit customers who are prioritizing price, simplicity, size or battery life. The Nokia 515 is pretty good on all of those, but not the leader on any. It's sort of the least dumb dumbphone, but not necessarily a great dumbphone.
I don't quite know who this is for... but I sure wish they'd applied the same energy to optimizing for size or battery life in a beautiful container. Something that can fit in my smaller pockets and has a great antenna would be amazing as a "going out" phone, even if it only did voice & SMS.
Today I had the idea of buying a feature phone or dumbphone in addition to a tablet. The tablet would ideally still be able to fit into my pocket and have a portable keyboard. Not sure where to find something like that, but I haven't looked yet.
Ideally this dumbphone would still be able to sync seemlessly with the tablet and I could write apps for it.
In any case, I am seriously considering ditching my smartphone, and switching to a combination of a feature phone like the 515 and a 7" tablet (New Nexus 7). That, for me, sounds like a killer combo.
However, something the size of a Kindle can fit just about anywhere else. Backpack, table, car dash, lap, in your hand, etc... so that is the size of tablet I intend to get, based on my experience with the Kindles.
Imagine what they could do if they were actually optimizing on dumbphone strengths!
As it is, it's sufficient in battery life but slightly larger and much more expensive. Close, but not worth upgrading for.
Despite that, this Nokia phone looks really nice, and twice as cheap.
We (Nokia) did that. The Nokia Asha line hits price points way below the fancypants 515. The Nokia 105 goes as low as $20.
They're probably some of the most under-appreciated marvels of mobile device engineering out there.
But nothing as thin or light as my F3 (though they are prettier).
Actually to be totally honest it's dwindled down to like 3-day battery life. I should get a new battery. But the phone is tough. One of my friends dropped it on the sidewalk and it's fine. I keep the phone with my keys and it's all scratched up but still fine.
I've got it on a prepaid plan I can refill via a phone call. Seriously I feel free with this thing. Might be nice to have maps on it or Lyft, but whatever...I just call a cab for god's sake.
It's dirt cheap ($28), quad band, dual sim card, pretty light, pretty tiny, really durable, has no internet capabilities (ie. no bloatware), a flashlight, and the battery lasts 2 weeks (although some reason my last charge only lasted 5 days).
It's not my ideal minimalist phone, but it's the closest I've found so far. The perfect phone would be thinner, look nicer, have an e-ink screen, month long battery life, and be made of some unbreakable material.
Demo of car driving over it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKocfAk7W4Q
Markets like Thailand, Philippines, Korea to a lesser extent, are interested in having cheap phones, but when that's ALL that they're going to have, they do want something nice, they do want that premium feel.
These are the same places that Nokia still has massive market share in feature phones, and this will only help advance those markets, I believe.
This model continues to be the model to beat in this space, and it is stupefying to see that in 2013, with as little as this Nokia does, it is thicker than the F3, at 11mm (vs. F3 @ 9.1mm).
If they can make a 7mm thick smartphone with two cameras and GPS, etc., why can't this little Nokia be <7mm thick ?
I'm not sure, but I think it has to do with the network its built for. The Motofone is a dual band GSM. The 515 has CDMA capabilities. I know most CDMA phones tend to be a little thicker because they need a specific antenna and some additional hardware, which doesn't allow them to be as thin as they could be.
Again, not positive, but it's what some engineers told me a while back when Verizon was getting some of the high demand Motorola phones and we were wondering why they were thicker than their AT&T and T-mobile counterparts.
Currently, they are using cheap, plastic phones with tiny little screens and complex OSes. They aren't durable, have poor battery life and have an appalling UI. I wanted them to upgrade to an iPhone just because its easier to use than the no-name phone they are using now. However, the iPhone has way too much capability and would more than likely confuse them.
If this Nokia "dumbphone" can deliver a sturdy phone with a simple, streamlined UI I would get my parents one in a heartbeat. Pair it with a cheap phone only plan from T-Mobile or AT&T and my Christmas shopping is done this year. :)
I now think that they actually do like being connected, but they just need a bigger screen to work with. Which is why the Note II is a good option.
I like my smartphone not because I can play Angry Birds on it, but because I've got my email, Facebook's messenger, WhatsApp messenger and Google Hangouts always connected.
So if you see elderly people that don't like smartphones, that's because those people don't use email, Facebook, Google Hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp and so on. But then again, there are elderly people that do.
We like to embrace new technologies just because. The elderly on the other hand value their time and tend to be very conservative, but give them a valuable use case, like video communications with their children that have left the country and you'll see them with smartphones.
On the other hand there is something to be said about the quality of these smartphones to function as phones. For example I remember fondly of how I didn't need to look at my phone, just for dialing a number, a function that's so important while driving. Yes, we've got voice recognition now, but it's so shitty.
First time it happened was in a shopping mall in front of McDonalds. A whole bunch of schoolgirls stopped talking to watch the performance. Super embarrassing!
For a seriously dumb phone, I'd go for a Nokia 100 or 101 (2 sim slots). It's got absolutely nothing - not any kind of web/wap accessibility, no front/back camera or a memory card slot. A resolution of a handsome 128 x 160 and a battery life of ~35 days. All for a price of ~20-40 bucks.
I got all my smart phones, in a country where they run $800 each, for free with one year contract. And paid less for data. And sms was always included in the voice plan.
And i still complained about how expensive it was.
In theory I do this so I can change my plan and/or switch providers willy-nilly, but I never do because I don't want to lose a phone number that's not really "mine" to begin with.
I bought a smartphone because it lets me check email when I'm sitting in lectures at university and I'm bored. I haven't really used my smartphone as a phone as much as its price would have you expect.
I guess, that's just a thing that I won't understand because I'm not American.
I so rarely text that I don't need that feature. However, people send me texts that I don't read, yet somehow expect me to have read them. I'd rather just have them get a message back saying my phone doesn't support that feature, so they know to call me.
Touchscreen displays are great but with a lack of tactile feedback nor physical key positioning awareness (touch typing, fingers on home row, etc) I have to constantly monitor the output to ensure it is correct. The same goes, albeit less so, with Swype (or equivalent.)
Full size keyboards work well enough but you have to master typing on a small qwerty keyboard with just your thumbs which can also be problematic.
With T9 I can consistently generate my desired outcome without looking at the screen, watching my fingers make the movements, or any other silly nonsense.
Furthermore if the phone had a directional pad, as most do for menus, editing the few typos or changing the message is such a joy compared to trying to tap a small letter on a smart screen or getting the zoom to pop up for precision positioning. This could be applied to full screen keyboards as well, of course, so this point is not a gripe about them.
Good laugh for all the devs in the office.
I was in the process of getting mugged. Someone was pointing a gun at me and telling me to give up my things. My hand was in my pocket, and I wanted to dial 911, but I couldn't, because all the smartphones nowadays have touch screen buttons.
I do notice my phone has a small 'emergency call' button on the lock screen so that's a plus. I probably wouldn't notice it in a real emergency though (I can only imagine I'd panic and forget it).
 image: http://i-cdn.phonearena.com/images/phones/16040-large/LG-Gla...
Car GPS? The inexpensive ones cost about as much as a few months of data plan, and require no service contract.
That's what I do with my car gps. Along with snicker wickedly as I disregard its instructions, taxing its little brain.
Also without fumbling around for 20 min just trying to plug in a specific address when all I have is a general idea of the area I'm trying to get to.
They do have a map-only mode. Or at least mine does. You pick a zoom level, and it just shows you where you are on the map.
A "dumbphone that can make calls, send texts, and tether" would be pretty much perfect.
But it can probably last you about a week with moderate usage. That's how a lot of dumbphones (and even Blackberries) used to last before the iPhone, and all the touchscreen phones that arrived after it, but I think most people have forgotten that.
It's because they used very limited operating systems and small screens with small resolutions, so they don't use nearly the same amount of power as today's touchscreen smartphones, with 4"+ screens and ~720p resolutions.
As long as coverage is decent and I have reasonable signal levels that's usual. With weak signal levels or no service when it's hunting for service the battery will go flat in a day or two.
> "They don't actually last that long."
Actual mileage depends on your usage. The talktime rating is meaningful for such comparisons.
I would have normally written "privacy paranoid" but it's clear that the spectrum has been lowered from paranoid to just conscious due to current realities.
If you're this paranoid, build one of those laser cut Arduino GSM phones instead. You could add your own discreet baseband kill switch.
Right now, I pay roughly $10 a month for my phone, and I'm reasonably happy with that (the reception is a bit weak, perhaps because the phone is so cheap, or perhaps because Tracfone is bad in my area).The problem is that my phone itself is terrible. The UI and the physical design are both atrocious.
I'd gladly drop $100 on a device that was pleasant to use. I've even contemplated shelling out a few hundred for a no-contract smartphone (I have wifi at work, wifi at home, etc...)
Nobody is forcing you to get a data plan with your Nexus 4.
But the RAZR wasn't that much better than everything else either and it sold over 100 million units.
edit: Also what's with the aggressive market segmentation? Why aren't the models globally available?
Cellular standards are completely different in different countries, let alone on different continents. Your flagship smartphone might have a quintuple-band chip in it so that you can sell the same model everywhere, but most of these smaller devices only do two or three bands, where the antenna can be smaller / they can get away with using fewer of them.
They should call the model one thing and just have small variances in model that are descriptive (e.g.: MOTOFONE F3 vs. F3c - the latter is CDMA).
Having random numbers with substantive differences in features that aren't "cumulative" just seems egregious and anti-consumer.
Having lots of models at different price points seems crazy for Apple, but it makes sense for just about anyone else making cell phones. Flooding the market with tons of choices at different price points happens in everything else we buy, from CPUs to cereal boxes to jeans.
Plus, if they change a part inside (say, update the CPU, or cut the RAM), the home-tech-support person in me would rather that they change the model number, than sneak in a nontrivial "Rev. 2" update. (This was a big deal with the WRT54G, when people were buying them and flashing custom ROMs that only fit in older models with more memory.)
Looks very slick, whatever you call it.
Waterproof, 8M camera, snapdragon chipset, full email, GPS and BREW apps, NFC, running 240 hours.
There's quite a gap with a "dumb" phone.
Or the other way around? I prefer the phrase "feature phone". "Dumb phone" sounds unneccesarily derogotary and condescending. Most of the world's population has a "dumb phone".
Just a dial pad with a paper(!) phonebook that fits inside. Yum, it tickles my inner hipster.
radicalbyte said what I was thinking exactly: this plus a Bluetooth modem (way to share data plan between devices) plus a big phablet/small tablet would be a badass professional setup. Battery life sells it for me, but not carrying my GPS-enabled google box everywhere with me would be pretty appealing too.
 - http://www.aesir-copenhagen.com/ae-plus-y/
Smartphones never appealed to me. They're just bad enough at all the things I want to do with a mobile device to make it a poor value proposition. I'd rather have a nice tablet. Something like the Surface (non-RT) with a few more iterations.
Edit: I realize it's no replacement for a Nexus 4, just pointing out that it's definitely possible to make a decent smartphone with different design parameters than Android or iPhone have been chasing.
Hell, I used to be one. the Handspring Treo 270? Oh man I loved that phone!!
I do exactly two things with my mobile phone: SMS and calls. I primarily have it around for emergencies and, due to the nature of my work, I only have access to it for a few hours per day (that is, when I'm not at work).
When I'm home I use my desktop computer and I often use my iPad for "portable computing".
How would a smartphone serve me better than my LG VX9900?
"The U.S. added 31 million smartphone subscribers in the past four quarters. That represents a reacceleration of growth in U.S. smartphone penetration."
"Overall, U.S. smartphone penetration stands at 58% of mobile subscribers aged 13 and above. That's up from 54% at the end of 2012."
>>>How would a smartphone serve me better than my LG VX9900?
Ever get lost? Do you travel a lot to other states/cities? Maybe its your first time in a city and you have no idea where a decent place to eat is. Ever want to check HN on the fly? Maybe get caught up on current news events or breaking stories? Ever wonder how your favorite sports teams are doing? Maybe you want to know how hot its going to be so you know what clothes to wear or if it's going to rain at 2pm or 3pm today.
I can do all of these and more with my smartphone. Not sure you have that capability with your 9900. Although you do have a camera and can shoot video.
Rarely. I use a GPS most of the time.
> Do you travel a lot to other states/cities?
Absolutely not. I try to spend as much time in my home as possible.
> Ever want to check HN on the fly?
> Maybe get caught up on current news events or breaking stories?
> Ever wonder how your favorite sports teams are doing?
I hate organized sports.
> Maybe you want to know how hot its going to be so you know what clothes to wear or if it's going to rain at 2pm or 3pm today.
I wear blue jeans and a dark-colored button-down short-sleeved shirt year-round, regardless of the weather. I also keep an umbrella in my car.