Return of the flip phone

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in mobile on (#GF7K)
Flip phones were all the rage in the 1990s - they were the ultimate fashion accessory. And despite being overtaken by smartphones the world over, the flip phone paradoxically remains very popular in technology-obsessed Japan. Flip-phone shipments rose 5.7 percent in 2014, while smartphone shipments fell 5.3 percent, down for a second year. The handsets have been dubbed 'Galapagos' phones because they have evolved to meet unique Japanese standards and tastes. This may also be attributable to users in Japan paying some of the highest smartphone fees among developed nations, while flip-phone rates are among the lowest. Many Japanese, accustomed to years of deflation, are content with old-style flip-phones offering voice calling, email and basic Internet services. Also, Japanese electronics companies Panasonic Corp and NEC Corp have pulled out of the consumer smartphone business, unable to compete with Apple and Samsung, but they still make flip-phones, competing in a crowded competitive market.

Though it may be easy to mock such a low-tech choice of phone, a recent trend observed by MailOnline has seen classic 1990s models by Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola commanding four-figure sums on eBay and other resale sites. While they may lack features, these retro phones are simple to use, have batteries that last the week and are practically indestructible compared to their smartphone equivalents. And now, LG has decided to join the party.

LG has launched a new model of flip phone, branded the "LG Gentle". Despite the 90s design, chunky physical buttons and 3MP camera, it comes with numerous modern features and the budget handset can perform many more tricks than flip phones from the 90s. The handset has a 3.2-inch colour touch screen and runs Android Lollipop 5.1, a modern 1.1GHz quad-core Snapdragon 2010 processor and 1GB of RAM, supports 4G LTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS... The phone has launched in Korea, but there is no news as to whether it will be rolled out elsewhere.

Re: LG intentionally missing the target? (Score: 1)

by reziac@pipedot.org on 2015-08-06 13:10 (#GM0E)

I had a glassbrick smartphone (Android) and hated it. Now I have a flipphone that cost $12 purchased outright (yes, twelve dollars). It's dumb as a rock (it can't even do call switching, tho it sorta receives texts if they're short enough). Battery life is so-so, about four hours of talk or a couple weeks of disuse. I prefer it because I can carry it in my pocket in the barn and not worry about it getting banged or wet -- won't hurt it a bit, and it was no big investment to start with. And it's FAR easier on both the hand and the ear than the smartphone was.

What I'd really like is a flipphone with a full keyboard, such as used to exist but seem to have vanished in favor of larger screens. Then having the smartphone features would make sense. With the push-3-times keyboard, it's all too much bother to use, at least typing in English. (Since I don't type Japanese I can't speak to that.) And make the whole phone a little larger so it's not so dang hard to hang onto; my pocket isn't so tiny that it has to be the size of a matchbox, and my big paws aren't so fond of tiny objects.
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