What do the following feature phones have in common?

  • LG Dare
  • LG Voyager
  • LG Versa
  • LG enV Touch
  • LG Rumour 2
  • LG Lotus
  • LG Neon
  • LG Xenon
  • LG VU
  • Samsung Alias 2
  • Samsung Gravity
  • Samsung Behold
  • Samsung Highlight
  • Samsung Memoir
  • Samsung Propel
  • Samsung Rant
  • Samsung Exclaim
  • Samsung Instinct
  • Samsung Magnet
  • Samsung Eternity
  • Samsung Impression
  • Sanyo SCP-2700
  • AT&T Quickfire
  • Pantech Matrix
  • Motorola Karma

They include features like:

  • High-Megapixel Cameras w/Zoom
  • GPS
  • Touch Screen
  • QWERTY Keyboards
  • Play Music
  • Play Videos
  • Web Browser
  • Email
  • Games
  • Apps
  • Instant Messaging
  • 3G
  • Stereo Bluetooth
  • Video Capture
  • SD Card Storage
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Quad-Band GSM
  • Voice Dialing
  • Alarm
  • Calculator
  • Photo Album
  • SMS
  • MMS
  • Wi-Fi
  • Internet Tethering
  • Slide-out Keyboard
  • Turn-by-Turn Navigation
  • Push to Talk
  • Radio
  • Hi-res Graphics
  • Streaming XM/Sirius
  • Mobile TV
  • Java
  • Facebook
  • MySpace

We consider phones with advanced mobile operating systems like Windows Mobile, Blackberry, iPhone, Symbian, and WebOS to be Smartphones.  When I look at the list of features above, I think most people in world would have a hard time distinguishing between what we call Smartphones and the rising tide of super-charged feature phones.  At a 30,000 ft level, a published API and development tools that allow you to create rich applications to access databases and remote servers may be the only distinction.  Of course that would be a slight againt Java ME that's found on over a billion feature phones.  I would venture to guess that 99% of the buying public can't tell the difference and may not even care as long as the price is right.

The big takeaway is that the large chasm that used to exist between feature phones and Smartphones has diminished dramatically.  In the coming years, Smartphone OS and hardware manufacturers have no choice but to innovate in a big way in order to put some distance between themselves and the clones attacking them from below or risk becoming commoditized and irrelevant.

- Rob