Mobile Handsets: Basic, Feature and Smartphones

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Given the power of eMarketing and Mobile Marketing, it’s no surprise that the phones themselves have adapted far beyond their original features and functions. Some offer classic telecommunications services, while others keep two giant leaps ahead of the mobile communication industry.

But when is a phone no longer a phone? The primary purpose of any cellular phone is as a personal communication device. Wise marketers bear that in mind first and foremost.

The old adage, ‘know your audience,’ rings true no matter what you have to say. And when it comes to Mobile Marketing, it can be very helpful to know exactly how your audience uses their mobile handsets to communicate.

In this chapter, we will be discussing basic, feature and smartphones: what services they provide as well as insight into how they can be utilised as a profitable medium for advertisers and marketers.

Key Terms and Concepts

Antivirus Software created to detect and neutralise malicious software.
Basic phone Basic handsets that can make and receive voice calls, send and receive text messages and make use of USSD services.
Blackberry A top of the range smartphone.
Feature phone These handsets offer additional functionality and often include camera and additional storage space. Often they can access the Internet, but they generally have a standard numeric keypad.
Firewall Security software which monitors and authorises access.
Functionality The range of capabilities of software or hardware.
GSM Stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. Most widely used of the three digital wireless telephone technologies. Uses a variation of time division multiple access.
iPhone The popular smartphone, produced by Apple.
Java A programming language which is common on many feature and smartphones.
QWERTY A full keypad, similar to the one found on computers.
Sandboxed A restricted environment for programming.
Skype Skype is a Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone service provider.
Smartphone These handsets have advanced capabilities and allow users to add applications to their phones. They usually have a QWERTY keypad and include 3G and WiFi capabilities.
WAP Wireless Application Protocol. A set of standards that allows Web access on mobile devices.
WiFi Short for Wireless Fidelity, the wireless technology which is the current standard protocol for networking and connecting to the Internet.


The GSM set of standards was implemented in 1991, with 36 networks around 22 countries implementing the standard by 1993.

So, what was the first GSM device? Well, a brick if you ever saw one, the first mass-produced GSM phone was the Nokia 1011, which was in production from 1992 until 1994. According to Register Hardware, the phone did not even feature Nokia’s trademark ring tone.

Nokia was instrumental in creating and implementing the global standard, handing over the honour of the inaugural GSM call to Harri Holkeri, Finnish Prime Minister at the time.

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