Are 'dumb phones' dead? Vodafone would like to think so.
The chief executive of the Vodafone Group, Vittorio Colao, has apparently sounded the death knell of the ‘dumb phone’ in the UK. According to the Telegraph, he said: "In three to four years' time we won't be talking about smartphones any more because every phone will be a smartphone and dumb phones [that can only call and text] will no longer exist."
Mr Colao then stamped his foot and shouted a lot* as he said he saw it as his "mission" to place a smartphone in the hands of 70pc of the world's population. This sounds much less painful than his comments in Vodafone’s Annual Report, which showed a 9.5% increase in pre-tax profits to £9.5billion, that he has “continued to increase the penetration of smartphones into our customer base” oo-er.
Mr Colao doesn’t aim low either. He described the UK as “smartphone land” with more than 90% of contract customers signing a smartphone contract in the three months to the end of March, but what he really wants is “to drive 70% smartphone take up in emerging markets as well."
His big idea is to create of smartphones costing less than €100 (£87) which would help drive uptake in India and Africa. His vision is for customers in developing countries to be offered small daily data packages similar to "mini shampoo bottles found in hotels". Call me an old cynic, but perhaps offering them food, development aid or even actual mini bottles of shampoo might help many of the inhabitants of Africa or India a natz more.
Anyway, in an amazing coincidence of timing, the death of the smartphone just so happened to occur at almost the exact same time that Vodafone’s new smart phone, imaginatively called ‘Smart’ was launched. And don’t you worry your pretty little heads about its technical specs, “The Vodafone Smart will be rolled out in a range of colours – from cool monochromes, through bold brights, to bespoke graphic designs. What’s more, customers will be able to personalise their phone, creating their own one-off covers on the web. With spring/summer and autumn/winter cover ranges planned, customers can build up a cover collection to suit their style and spirit.” So that’s alright then.
*this may be dramatic embellishment on my part.