I had a beer with Conrad recently and he talked about “Super Phones”. Then yesterday I took some people from the Dutch Embassy for a tour of Mxit’s office and explained how Mxit runs on about 4000 different phones. I also spotted these slides from Dave yesterday. These different categories of phones seemed to make sense when talking about the South African phone market:
- The Dumb phone. Pretty much a calculator that can make a phone call. 11 Million of them.
- The Feature phone. Like the Dumb phone but it can access the internet. Seems only 25% of their owners care about the internet so let’s say 4.5 Million of these. (Ignoring the other 12.5 Million calculators that can connect to the internet but don’t care to).
- The Smart phone. Mostly BlackBerry (OS5 and OS7) and let’s include Nokia S60. 8 Million of these. (5m + 3m)
- The Super phone. Apple and Android. 1.5 Million of these.
In summary, my biased view, as somebody involved in building mobile phone applications: we’ve already passed the point where smartphones are more relevant than feature phones.
If you only develop for iOS, Android and Blackberry (OS5 and OS7) you have about 7m users. Feature phones sit at about 7m (if you include Nokia).
By next year this will probably be 12 vs 8.
Thanks for the stats Dave.
Disclaimer: I’m doing a lot of guessing and maybe some over-simplification and I’m pretty much just looking at this from the point of building native apps in South Africa. I’m also assuming all smart/superphone users care about connecting to the internet and using apps.