The handset that’s not just for ‘little old ladies


In a world flooded by smartphones, the more basic “feature” phone has been sidelined, but one company is still betting on the devices.

“People assume it’s just little old ladies using feature phones, but actually the market is bigger than that,” James Atkins, co-founder of British technology firm Kazam, told CNBC in an interview.

Kazam, formed by former executives at HTC, offers high-spec smartphones at a low price to take on the bigger companies. But one of the firm’s founder insists feature phones are a key opportunity for the company.

The company unveiled an internet-connected flip phone called the Life C6 ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. One of the features is an SOS button that automatically sends texts or makes calls to pre-registered numbers. The Life C6 is aimed at the the European market.

“As big brands exit (the market) the opportunity for growth for us are still large,” Atkins said.

However, as several analysts have pointed out, the feature phone market is shrinking as smartphones become cheaper and the market will continue to decline.

“Kazam is gambling that there will be a gap left there where others have pulled out. Any opportunity in feature phone market will be temporary and no more than a window of one to two years,” Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

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