Smartphones Are Getting Dumber…on Purpose


It’s a phenomenon as standard as they come: As teenagers transition into adulthood and become real consumers, they subtly shift away from the things their parents like.

Millennials, and those in the soon-to-follow ‘Generation Z,’ have already shown their waning interest in Facebook and, it turns out, even beer is not safe from their eagerness to be different. You heard me right: they’re not into beer.

The Guardian is reporting that the latest backsliding trend might actually be smartphone use. Apparently, the amount of time spent on smartphones by 16- to 24-year-olds surveyed in a recent study is going down for the first time on record, and more than a third of them said they wanted to cut back further.

There’s a Brooklyn-based startup that wants to capitalize on consumers’ growing desire to disconnect. Light opened its doors in 2014 with one product – the Light Phone – which was designed to serve as a “smart ‘dumb’ phone” and allowed users to forward their service to a compact device that only placed and fielded calls. It was intended to be a companion device for your existing tech, so users could leave the house without bringing the likes of Instagram along for the ride.

A brand-new second version takes this strategy even further because it’s added enough features to allow users to ditch their smartphones altogether: The Light Phone 2 can now send and receive texts and also features some basics like an alarm and primary mapping function. The credit card size and slim width means it can slide into some wallets and fit easily in a pocket for those who want to go Light. According to Business Insider, the company has sold more than 10,000 phones since its inception.

I have to say I like the philosophical message of a phone that encourages people to be present in their real, actual physical lives. What I don’t like is the price. Just a quick reminder that it wasn’t so long ago that every phone was a ‘dumb’ phone, and now Light wants you to pay $400 for the privilege of not having the internet.

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