Phones and Telephones are smartphones for First Billion User


Millions of internet consumers first from Ivory Coast to India and Indonesia are connecting to the web's new breed of device that only costs about $ 25.


phones were great about twenty years ago. However, these mobile phones, which have free mobile data, provide some basic apps and internet access as well as call and texting.

The key smart phones, as they know, are one of the fastest growing and least familiar parts of the mobile phone industry, providing some of the world's poorest people with a simple way to enter the internet economy. .

While global smart phone sales began slipping last year and saturated markets, smart phone shipments went triple to around 75 million from 2017, according to the research firm's Counterpoint. Approximately 84 million are likely to be launched this year.

Even when rich nations begin to roll out the 5G technologies, 3.4 billion people live worldwide, according to We Are Social, another research company. Most of them already use non-attached traditional mobile phones, which means that they can easily make the transition to devices that are shaped in a way that can make high-speed network connections.

Take a case of Kamlesh Kumar, which makes about $ 80 a month selling mangoes, avocados and lychees from the path in New Delhi.

Kamlesh Kumar, a fruit seller in New Delhi, paid about $ 20 for his smart phone, the JioPhone, which he uses to mail rinsing music and watch movies with his family at home.


Newley Purnell / The Wall Street Journal

Two years ago the 35 year old person decided to replace his cheap mobile phone with a lack of access to the web. It was not even possible for the smart phones to pay the smart phones that cost about $ 100. So he paid about $ 20 for a smart phone, called the JioPhone, from an Indian mobile operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

Now he listens to Bollywood music posted, using a Google built voice assistant to search for a Hindi view on YouTube. At night his family discusses the device to watch films.

“I couldn't do anything on my old phone,” he said. Mr Kumar pays less than $ 2.50 per month for all the mobile data he needs.

A free smartphone is free only, but they have key physical points that are less daunting than touch screens for those new to technology. Meanwhile, their batteries survive for days, a bonus in places where the electricity is unreliable.

There is a trade-off at a low price. The devices usually have slower components and less power, usually only basic cameras and their screens a few inches, contributing to their longer battery life. There are also fewer apps available for smartphones.

“The demand for reliable and affordable technology continues to rise” in the world, said Caesar Sengupta, Vice President of Google's Next Billion User. “Smart mobile phones provide gateways to the next billion users to higher and more affordable technology.”

A Reliance Jio employee speaks to a customer in New Delhi.



Reliance Jio, the telecommunications company, has been very popular with this category and is supported by India's richest man Mukesh Ambani. When his service started in 2016, executives realized millions of people who could sign their free dirt details because they couldn't pay a mobile phone.

So the company developed the JioPhone, working with KaiOS Technologies Inc.. based in Hong Kong, the most used operating system employs smart phone smart features around the world. This software is designed for devices with memory keys and limited physical points.

Reliance Jio sells more than 60 million of its devices so far in India, the only market in which they are available.

To identify the potential of smart phones to connect the next billion users, high-tech global companies


and its WhatsApp service,


And Google and


their apps are polished so they can be used on these devices. Last year Google invested $ 22 million in KaiOS.

Around 370 million smart phones will be sold over the next three years, allowing $ 28 billion for hardware, software and services companies, says Counterpoint.

This is a small market for smartphones, with 1.5 billion units sold last year. However, average smart phone prices continue at more than $ 300 worldwide, and so are few.

French mobile operator


In recent months it has launched a smart smart phone with tear free mobile data plans in Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso and Cameroon and it is planned to bring it to other markets in Africa and the Middle East.

Indonesia has a limited number of smartphones available and the Indonesian manufacturer WizPhone will be in the next few weeks starting to offer a smart phone that can be bought for about $ 7.00. KOOS also works with Brazilian smartphone manufacturers to implement models there.

While developing emerging markets offer the greatest potential for the growth of devices since most of the next billion of the world are located, some companies are bringing similar devices for niche audiences in richer countries.

HMD Global Oy, Finland, which sells Nokia phones, is offering refurbished versions of its common tow shaped phones, but with additional web access. Price tags are almost $ 100, their target audience is the original device enthusiasts.

Swedish firm


AB launched two KaiOS powered mobile phones designed for older people in the US and Europe last year. These flip phones protect with large buttons between $ 50 and $ 150.

“A smart phone can be complicated and some people worry,” said Sebastien Codeville, chief executive of KaiOS.

Think of flip phones and candy copies? Well, they're coming back. David Pierce WSJ explains how some upgrades give dumb phone advantages that iPhone users may be jealous of. Photo / Video: Emily Prapuolenis / Wall Street Journal (Originally published April 17, 2018)

Write Newley Purnell at

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Would you switch to a “simple phone?” What are the advantages or disadvantages to you? Join the conversation below.

Corrections & amplified
Kamlesh Kumar, a fruit seller in New Delhi, paid about $ 20 from the smart phone, the JioPhone. Earlier version of this article incorrectly mentioned in a photo caption to pay it about $ 2. (July 23, 2019)

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