Is the flip telephone again? Why some individuals are switching to dumbphones

When Leigh Tynan agreed to get her 13-year-old daughter a cellphone, she did not need it to change into a distraction.

“When there is a smartphone or display, you do not practise guitar, you do not learn a e-book, you do not simply be bored,” she mentioned. So as a substitute of the extremely popular iPhone, she settled on a TCL Flip telephone, with a key function: no entry to social media.

“I simply thought I actually do not feel comfy together with her being on-line on a regular basis…. I am attempting to guard her from it for so long as potential.”

Dumbphones, also called simplephones or featurephones, are having a second. The cellular gadgets are restricted to primary capabilities reminiscent of making telephone calls and sending textual content messages, and sometimes cannot connect with the web. In keeping with Counterpoint, a know-how market analysis agency, greater than 98,600 function telephones have been offered in Canada in 2023 — a 25 per cent improve from 2022.

WATCH | Flip telephones have new attraction:

Telephones with restricted capabilities discovering a ‘digital detox’ market

Dumbphones are having a second. These cellular gadgets are restricted to primary capabilities like making telephone calls and sending textual content messages, and sometimes can’t connect with the web.

Whereas dumbphones have lengthy been common with seniors and tradespeople, there’s contemporary demand from dad and mom attempting to guard their kids from the distracting options of smartphones. The sturdiness and value are additionally interesting: The vast majority of dumbphones promote for lower than $100.

Tynan’s flip telephone rang up at $80, plus she pays about $26 monthly for the discuss and textual content plan.

Some Gen Z and millennial customers are additionally making the swap as they attempt to digitally detox from a always related world.

“The smartphone just isn’t a supply of enjoyment anymore,” mentioned Pascal Neglect, a tech columnist in Montreal. “It was once enjoyable, however now they’re hooked on it, so that they need to return to easier instances utilizing an easier gadget.”

Kristen Campbell switched to a 'dumbphone' and said it made her feel calmer and happier.
Kristen Campbell switched to a ‘dumbphone’ and mentioned it made her really feel calmer and happier. (Submitted by Kristen Campbell)

Dumbphone customers reminiscent of Kristen Campbell who’ve taken the leap say the outcomes are price it.

The 33-year-old from Calgary ditched her smartphone final yr, testing out about 15 completely different gadgets, and she or he presently makes use of the Qin F22 mannequin.

“When a good friend desires to borrow one or check out dumbphone residing, they simply come to me,” she mentioned.

Campbell mentioned she got here to the conclusion that the period of time she was spending scrolling her telephone was an issue, and she obtained numerous pleasure out of deleting her social media accounts. 

“I am nonetheless reachable, however I stay my life within the place the place I’m at that second reasonably than always being mentally elsewhere,” she mentioned. “I simply felt rather a lot calmer and rather a lot happier.”

Dumbphones are also known as simplephones or featurephones.
Dumbphones, also called simplephones or featurephones, are cellular gadgets restricted to primary capabilities reminiscent of making telephone calls and sending textual content messages, and sometimes cannot connect with the web. (Submitted by Kristen Campbell)

Dumphones nonetheless a distinct segment product

However dumbphones stay a distinct segment product, making up lower than one per cent of the overall cellular handset market in Canada, in keeping with Counterpoint. Neglect says many corporations have little incentive to supply them.

“You may’t promote information packages, you may’t promote apps, you may’t promote subscriptions on a minimalist telephone. So it is arduous for a corporation to earn a living out of them.”

HMD World continues to be making flip telephones. The corporate noticed its Nokia 2660 Flip telephone gross sales double in Europe final yr, and has relaunched a mannequin that first debuted again in 1999.

“It is actually attention-grabbing to see a telephone that we thought was performed … we thought we might by no means use this telephone once more, and now it is being picked up,” mentioned chief advertising and marketing officer Lars Silberbauer.

Brooklyn-based Gentle simply launched the third era of its Gentle Telephone. With a black-and-white show and no e-mail, social media, or web shopping, it retails for $399, making it about 4 instances pricier than different dumbphones.

Whereas it is not obtainable in Canada simply but, co-founder Kaiwei Tang mentioned the corporate is in talks with Telus and hopes to convey the Gentle Telephone right here later this yr.

A Lightphone has limited features and no email, social media or internet browsing.
A Lightphone has restricted options and no e-mail, social media or web shopping. (Gentle)

Tang mentioned the gadget is constructed to have trendy utility and with the view that know-how ought to work within the background — and he hopes that positive aspects momentum.

“We would truly like to see extra gamers leaping in and even large corporations creating instruments that don’t depend on folks’s time, consideration and information to earn a living.”

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