Smartphones are very convenient. They allow users to connect to the internet for a lot of things: reading, communicating, studying, playing, buying and selling. Sure, smartphones really are convenient, but not everyone can afford them.

A report from The Wall Street Journal explains that because of their expensive prices, smartphones aren’t making it big in various areas. Some people cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a phone. For this reason, devices called “Smart feature phones” are quickly gaining traction among many.

What are smart feature phones?

Smart feature phones are basically feature phones --basic mobile phones with keypads used primarily for calling and texting-- that can connect to the internet. By giving feature phones a few upgrades, these get a few “advantages that could make iPhone users jealous,” the WSJ noted.

These phones look like the phones Nokia and Motorola sold many years ago. They are cheap (some of them even sell for as little as about $25) and getting unlimited data access for these kinds of devices also doesn’t cost much.

Of course, they do not have the functionality of today’s smartphones, but they do give users access to some major apps like YouTube and Facebook. Some of them, like the Nokia 8110 phone and others running on KaiOS, now have WhatsApp, FirstPost reported.

The research firm Counterpoint expects that almost 370 million smartf feature phones are going to be sold around the world over the next three years.

Key Features

Here are some of the benefits people get from buying and using smart feature phones:

Longer battery life. Smart feature phones have very long battery life compared to smartphones. While the duration varies depending on the phone itself, most smart feature phones can last for days before needing a charge.

Very cheap. Some smart feature phones can be bought for a very low price. This makes these devices appealing to a lot of people, including a New Delhi man the WSJ interviewed for the report. This man, Kamlesh Kumar, earns $80 a month and uses a smart feature phone he bought from a mobile carrier named Jio. For only $2.50 a month, Kumar is able to access the internet through his Jio phone.

Nokia 8110
HMD Global brought back the Nokia 8110 at MWC 2018. Reuters/Yves Herman