Pantech phones have become nearly extinct in the US market, and for good reason. The cell phone manufacturer seems to be trying to make a comeback, but their recent offerings seem to be about 3 years behind the times, if not more. With approximately 50% of US cell phone users currently using smartphones, you would think that there was a place for feature phones. However, smartphones have been trending upwards for some time now, and it won’t be too long before feature phones are an afterthought at best.
But the two new Pantech phones recently announced, the Laser and the Crux, are middling feature phones. The Crux, which was just announced this week has some solid features, like a touch screen and a social networking widget. It runs $49.99 after a mail in rebate on a two year contract with Verizon. By contrast, T-Mobile announced the LG Optimus T, which runs the latest version of Android and will only cost $29.99 on a two year contract. Pricing for the two devices as a no contract phone aren’t yet available, but considering how much more phone you get for about half the cost with LG’s offering, it makes you wonder why anyone would bother with the Pantech phone at all.
Obviously there is still a large enough market out there for feature phones that will allow Pantech to at least stay somewhat relevant for the time being. But as the industry continues to shift towards new technology, the South Korean company will need to shift its focus towards more high end devices to capture the next generation of cell phone users as well as people looking to upgrade to more capable devices. When it comes to cell phones, evolution is the name of the game. Those who remain a one trick pony learn the lesson the hard way. Based on recent Pantech offering, it would appear as though they are headed down that path.