Rogers intends to launch a new category of phone on its website called “Smartphone Lite.” As documents note, this category will hold mobile devices that are available for voice-only plans and paired with small data plans—rogers suggests $10 for 100 MB (which is an insane ripoff, but that’s a story for another day). Lite devices are “perfect for those customers who want a full-featured smartphone that has improved and faster browsing apps and experience with upgraded email and calendar functionality relative to QMDs”—AKA “quick messaging phones,” AKA dumb phones.
So basically, Lite devices are budget smartphones paired with budget data plans for the light user. A little data goes a long way when it comes to things like email, but YouTube would eat through a Lite user’s plan like a swarm of locusts. No BlackBerry or iPhone devices will not be under this category; currently it appears reserved for Symbian and a few Androids.
Meanwhile, Bell recently unveiled its “Superphone” category, which debuted with two Android devices with dual-core processors. Bell never made public any specific criteria as t what constitutes a superphone, so the dual-core processors are really the only differentiator. That, maybe combined 4G compatibility. But it’s sort of anyone’s guess.
In essence, smartphones are becoming divided into two categories: lite and super. Most high-end, next-gen smartphones should start rolling out with dual-core processors, rendering them “superphones” by Bell’s standard (RIM’s Jim Balsillie has already described its entire next-gen mobile roster as a lineup of superphones). And lower-end manufacturers will love the concept of lite devices—as will wireless carriers who make a killing off ridiculous data addons like ten whole bucks for a pathetic 100 megabytes monthly.
One thing is for sure: anyone still with a dumb phone is apt to look like a cave dweller in an era of lites and superphones.
And how long will it be before we start seeing Lite tablets and Super tablets?