It's not that we're nostalgic for a time when we were all Luddites, but you have to admit, our phones demand a lot of our attention. We joke about missing "dumb" phones, and there's a weird cachet to using a flip phone now. If you've been looking to step away from all your notifications and attention-sucking apps but you don't want to skimp on design, keep an eye on the Light Phone II.
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At a time when mobile devices are getting more feature-rich and complicated, the crowdfunded Light Phone is designed to be used "as little as possible." Think of it less as a tiny supercomputer and more like an e-reader that makes calls. With its E-Ink touchscreen and minimal use of backlighting, you don't have to worry about what you're missing online, because you've made the choice to stay in the present moment.
That's the idea, anyway. Beyond calling capabilities and a contacts list, the Light Phone II includes the bare minimum of what makes the smartphone essential to modern living, hopefully including maps, texting, and ride-hailing options. "Hopefully," because this upgrade from the original device is still raising money to launch and ship. Otherwise, the phone is a disconnector's dream: no email, no social media, no push alerts, and no advertising.
If you're not in the mood to buy a totally new phone (and wait a while at that), consider the podcast Note to Self's "Bored and Brilliant" project. It's a one-week phone detox program with small daily challenges designed to break free from the distraction economy. You can also find it in book form. There's no better time to be present than now.