Imagine a cell phone that was not a smartphone – one that can only make calls and store nine numbers, that’s it. Seems like a technology of that past, right? Last year the Light Phone was released and it did just that. Nothing more. Recently, the Light Phone 2 was announced. It is built on the same premise but with a few additional features like text messaging and the ability to hail a ride-sharing service (…because this is 2018 after all and we communicate vastly through text). The Light Phone 2, like its original counterpart, still intentionally lacks the ability to surf the web, take photos and send emails, among all the other things we’ve come to expect from a phone.
This was all intentional.
At a time when constant connectivity is beginning to seem, for lack of a better term, out of control, we’re beginning to see some companies actively trying to combat the trend. According to Mintel, 81% of consumers say it’s important to disconnect from technology. The Light Phone 2 helps consumers do so by limiting their digital capabilities all together.
But Light Phone isn’t the only product encouraging users to out down their devices. Initially popular in Scandinavia and the UK, “Hold” is an app that rewards university students for NOT using their phones. For every 20 minutes between 7am and 11pm users go without using their smartphone they earn 10 points. These points can be redeemed for physical goods and services when though the app’s marketplace which includes Caffè Nero, Amazon and movie theater rewards.
Hold is hardly the first app offering incentives for phone non-use. Years ago, UNICEF launched the Tap Project, an effort to get clean drinking water to the more than 748 million people in need. For every extended length of time people went without using their smart devices, UNICEF pledged to donate a day’s worth of clean water.
Various restaurants have also begun offering discounts for patrons who leave their phones away and instead engage in conversation with their fellow diners.
Disconnect phones, reconnect people.