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This is the fourth instalment of my predictions for big tech trends for 2011. You can read predictions 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

4. A Re-Focus on Non-Smartphones

Remember the days when you didn’t have a smartphone? I only switched over to an iPhone in Nov (let me add that this was after some cruel bullying by all the other geeks in Appleton Tower about how the screen on my Nokia N95 didn’t ‘work’ – peer pressure is harsh 😉 and I don’t think I could ever live without it. But sometimes it’s hard to remember that people with smartphones are the exception rather than the norm. According to a recent report published by Nielson (Jan 2011), just under 70% of the phones are non-smartphones – a statistic that is sometimes forgot when the discussions about iOS vs android (vs Web OS) are dragged up.

This really means there is a huge market out there for any startup that can make feature phone services. Hailed as the next big startup – GroupMe – is a service which allows people to set up little groups that they can text with a single number. These groups can be set up for an hour, a day or a week. It just makes communicating with a bunch of people fairly easy. One scenario would be being on a long weekend with a bunch of friends; you can set up a short number to allow people to communicate with each other when everyone is off doing their own thing.

I know that local mobile design company – Yiibu – is re-focusing on mobile web design. Bryan has an excellent presentation on this:

The web isn’t just about smartphones and I think this year, with the upcoming success of GroupMe, we’ll see a bunch of new startups which will shun away from smartphones only and tap into the huge market of non-smartphones.

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