[FLIP] The Rise of Anti-Smartphones
Those of us old enough to remember 90s-era flip phones often wax nostalgic about their elegant simplicity and ruggedness. They were good for phone calls and texts, and not much else. But it seems that those so-called “dumb phones" are making a comeback, and you'll be surprised at some of the people who are sporting them. Read on to learn why, and which models are available...
Is It Smart to Have a Dumb Phone?
Those flip phones from days gone by had some features that I miss. They had real buttons that gave tactile feedback. When you were finished using them, they closed with a satisfying snap and were well protected against falls. Oh, and their batteries lasted for days and days, not mere hours.
Good news… you can still buy an old-school flip phone. AT&T offers the $60 Cingular Flip with a 2.8 inch screen and 2 Mpixel camera. Go to Best Buy for Verizon’s $20 prepaid Samsung Gusto which provides 3G Web surfing (on a 1.3-inch screen) and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity to other devices. Home Depot, of all places, sells a $4.97 LG 440G Tracfone prepaid flip phone that connects to the Web via GSM and includes a 1.3 Mpixel still or video camera.
The noteworthy thing about these and other “dinky” little flip phones is that people really like them. Even though you can't play Pokemon Go on these devices, their buyers give them average ratings of 4.0 or higher! And maybe that's exactly why they like them.
For the past two years or so, there has been a growing backlash against bulky smartphones and their bewildering arrays of pretty but time-wasting apps. Celebrities and high-powered business executives have been spotted using ancient flip phones. Warren Buffett has sung their praises. Rock icon Iggy Pop told New York magazine that he uses a flip phone, in part, “because you can drop it a lot and it won’t break.” Even Rhianna has been spotted using a flip phone, and any teenage girl will tell you there’s no one cooler than Rhianna.
So take heart, old-timers; it’s not just “the elderly” who prefer simple phones that just make calls and (maybe) texts. “Beyond the senior demographic, there’s a bit of a pushback against technology that’s too complex for its own good. And we’re seeing it at the fringes of the phone market in rising demand for simple phones that remind us of days gone by,” technology analyst Carmi Levy told CTVNews.ca recently.
What Goes Around Comes Around...
But the “anti-smartphone” movement is not confined to backwards-looking nostalgia for flip phones. Over two-thirds of Americans already own smartphones, and they’re not about to give them up. So a new class of mobile device is emerging; call it the “dumb phone accessory.”
The $100 Light Phone is the size of a credit card; indeed, the promo video shows a man slipping his Light Phone into his wallet alongside Visa, Mastercard, et. al. It connects to a user’s existing smartphone through an app, allowing you to leave that bulky, complicated smartphone at home. The Light Phone only beeps when a call or text arrives. Its flush keyboard has large keys that make dialing and texting easy.
The MP 01 by Punkt does a little more; it adds an alarm clock. But that’s it. Calls, texts, and alarms are all you get for $295. No data plan is required because the MP 01 doesn’t use data; the company recommends the most basic 2G service from T-mobile.
Note that all of these futuristic anti-smartphone devices are still in the future; you’ll be invited to “pre-order” a unit that will ship later this year or in early 2017… if all goes well.
It appears that the anti-smartphone market will end up divided between nostalgic flip phone users, most of them in their senior years, busy people who don't want distraction from a dozen apps, and hip youngsters who want novel technology but don’t want complicated smartphones. I sincerely hope the last category grows in numbers.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 21 Jul 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [FLIP] The Rise of Anti-Smartphones (Posted: 21 Jul 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved