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 2015-08-08 13:06 (#GT8Q)

Thanks for the link. Last time I looked at the kyocera the price was still higher than it's worth to me. $20 is more like it. As to whether it will work with my cheap Verizon pay-as-you-go...?? looks to me like that one is locked to Sprint. Sprint is completely worthless here. (See map: http://www.boostmobile.com/coverage/ that's about right in my experience. I'm near Billings MT.)

I find the smartphones harder to hear on -- has to be positioned perfectly or I can't hear the durn thing at all. Maybe it's the aging ears; younger mileage may vary.

I don't think you realise how much banging around happens if you do physical work outdoors (or in a barn). Where the pockets are is also a commonly-used point of leverage. The phone occasionally gets subjected to being crushed because it just gets in the way. If it's much more breakable than a pocketknife, it WILL get broken. Either that, or it won't be carried at all, and then why bother with it?

If you don't live on the phone, most of its time is spent held in the hand next to the ear, not typing on it. Contacts can be imported rather than retyped.
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