As much press as smartphones like the Apple iPhone and the Nexus One get, Americans by and large still prefer to use less powerful "feature phones." For example, the LG enV Touch (just a feature phone, not a smartphone) was one of the most popular phones on Verizon for a long time- our CNET review of the enV Touch consistently made our monthly Top Five list for the most pageviews from July to October in 2009. It was even No. 1 for two of those months (August and September). There was also an NPD report last year that claimed around 72 percent of new handset sales in Q2 of 2009 were feature phones, not smartphones.
On the face of it, this is understandable. Smartphones are seen as complex and might have features that many consumers don't need or want. Feature phones are typically easier to use, and are cheaper to boot. But this field is rapidly changing--feature phones aren't so simple anymore, while smartphones are focusing much more on the consumer market. More importantly, the pricing differences aren't as clear cut as you might think. The lines between the two categories are blurrier than ever, and I'm thinking a shift in the balance might be forthcoming. … Read more