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Why 'Lite' Smartphones Are So Popular

From VOA Learning English, this is Technology. Twenty-three-year old Rio Safiyanto sells face masks for about 30 cents each in central Jakarta, Indonesia. He earns enough money to own a cell phone that permits him to visit websites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as finding game applications, or apps.

Rio Safiyanto says the average person in Indonesia has a cell phone. He likes having one because he can talk to his family when he is away from home. And, he is pleased that he can use it to listen to music. Rio's phone has a keypad that makes it look like a Blackberry. It is known as a feature phone or smartphone lite. That is because it is less costly and cannot do as many things as more advanced phones like the Apple iPhone.

These devices make up the majority of cell phones sold around the world. They are successful in places like Indonesia, where some smartphones cost 700 dollars or more. Although many lower-income users are new to smartphones, they are quickly learning to use the technology. Phone manufacturer Nokia offers a service called Life Tools. For a monthly payment, Nokia sends text messages to farmers. They tell about weather conditions, crop prices, agricultural news and give advice.

Local businessman Aldi Haryopratomo has developed a way for store owners to sell things from prepaid cellphone minutes to life insurance through text messages. A company called Ruma developed the technology. It is working on a system that will inform people about jobs in their area. Last year, the French company Semiocast reported that Jakarta was the world's top tweeting city, ahead of Tokyo and London.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 15Apr2013)

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