NUMOROUS articles have exposed our excessive smartphone habits and the potential health hazards that can result from our mobile dependency. But as smartphones continue to overtake the human experience, a few mobile developers are leading an open rebellion. Now that we have full Internet access in the palm of our hand, what is next for mobile innovation?
It seems we are entering (or regressing toward) the generation of the ‘simple phone.’ While this name has not been officially recognized, it summarizes a new design movement for mobile technology. While app developers continue to build a world which is navigable only with a smartphone, a growing number of simple-function phones are hitting the market.
One such effort is the Janus One Phone. This phone, which stands out for its ultra sleek design (its 5.5mm thickness is equivalent to a credit card) is a powerful yet compact device. Its simple layout and small screen makes it durable and waterproof. While the slim design makes the device intriguing, its limited capabilities are what makes it stand out: the Janus One is only capable of sending and receiving calls and texts. Offering only phone capabilities from the good old days, the phone is able to last 90 days on a single charge. There is a clear demand for this type of phone as the designers were able to gain over $80,000 from a $50,000 goal on Kickstarter.
Swiss electronics manufacturer Punkt. has created a similar device. Their MP01 phone resembles the Janus One, but is a lot more reminiscent of the earlier mobile phones of the late 20th century. The phone’s primary function is also to receive and make calls and text messages (limited to a 2G network), but it also has an alarm clock and calendar function. It costs $295.
The Light Phone meanwhile is a minimalist phone that can be synced with a smartphone via the Light app. Its luminescent, simple design is refreshing and easy to operate. The phone also has nominal capabilities, only able to store 10 contacts, which makes it an ideal option for emergency situations and people who seek temporary relief from an otherwise smartphone-heavy lifestyle.
A new device isn’t necessary to break smartphone addiction. The Dumb Phone Case is a playful but useful alternative for those who feel that they are spending too much time on their devices. Its practical design mimics the keyboard of an old cell phone, eliminating useless scrolling. Apps like Do Nothing. Do Good channel time spent away from unnecessary phone monitoring into something positive: volunteering for every hour a user doesn’t check their phone.
It’s healthy to have alternatives for people who do feel they are too absorbed in their mobile lives. A new phone might not necessarily be the best solution as it undermines all the positive ways smartphones have made our lives easier. Before investing in a simple phone, one must ask if it’s the phone that needs changing or the culture around it.
Written by Rob Quick, originally published 29 March 2016 via www.psfk.com
It seems we are entering (or regressing toward) the generation of the simple phone