Remember back in the day when mobile phones were extremely ‘dumb’? All they were capable of doing was making calls and sending and receiving texts, and if you were lucky, you could play Snake. We can now only laugh at how primitive and archaic these phones seem, like the tools of Neanderthals.
These days, a phone is required to be supremely smart. It must have a built in GPS and roadmaps, link to a minimum of 3 social media accounts, provide instant updates for those social media accounts, grant you easy access to casino games, and provide a live newsfeed from multiple preferred media outlets.
On the other hand, wouldn’t it be great to once again be free of the distractions? Wouldn’t it be nice to own a phone that didn’t provide a constant barrage of glib beeping or chiming every five minutes, demanding attention? Remember when your mobile phone wasn’t desperate to be touched constantly, and just provided a means for communication? It was a simpler time, for sure.
This was the reasoning behind the latest interesting iteration of phone, dubbed the dumb phone.
Take Your Life Back
The idea comes from a Norwegian entrepreneur, named Petter Neby. According to him he realised some time ago that he and his stepdaughter were facing a serious problem; mobile device addiction. He explained that he realised that they both had an addiction when examining their lives, as well as their relationship. Both spent an inordinate amount of time with their noses pointed at the screens of mobile devices, and it created a serious disconnection. Both from one another and the world at large. Hence, after some reflection, Neby decided to create the dumb phone.
Neby created the company called Punkt, focusing on creating downgraded mobile phones that make calls, and little else. In this fashion the user is allowed to once again free themselves from the shackles of a smartphone, which is all but designed to be addictive. Those who have adopted some of the phones swear by the benefits, claiming to have found salvation.
The first so called dumb phone was released back in 2015, called the Light Phone. Those who thought dumb phones would be ugly and unappealing will be surprised to know that the Light Phone is very impressive to behold, at least in terms of aesthetic appeal. Designed to resemble the Monolith from the famous 2001: A Space Odyssey, the device has no keys, no buttons, and no cameras. It only makes and receives calls and stores a few contacts.
The newer model, called the MP-01, can do a bit more than the Light Phone but has design quirks of its own. It is able to send and receive texts, make calls, has a built in alarm clock, and can make Bluetooth connections. The trick is that it has only a tiny 2-inch screen. Hence it is useful only for the essentials.
Designed To Be Limited
If you’re thinking now that the dumb phones sound extremely limited, that is indeed the point. Neby has stated that his devices follow a single design choice; to be useful for the essentials, but to otherwise not encourage users to stare at them day in and day out. Hence in this regard they are a hit. But Punkt has yet to find major market success, and some critics are claiming that the devices will do little to help those with real addictions.
Either way, Neby is pushing ahead with his dumb phones, and has gained a die-hard niche group of supporters. As to whether the idea catches on and goes global remains to be seen. But if anything, there are more than a few who would benefit of spending less time staring at their smartphones, as it may well be making them dumb!