The ‘brick’ phone is reviving

17-year-old Robin West is an “unusual” person compared to the rest of us. She does not own a smartphone. Instead of drowning in the world of apps like TikTok or Telegram, she uses a brick cell phone.

The word “brick” refers to popular mobile phones with much more limited features than the iPhone. You can usually only make and receive calls and SMS messages. And if you’re lucky, you can listen to the radio, take some basic photos, but definitely can’t use the app and connect to the Internet.

West decided to give up his smartphone two years ago. When she was looking for a replacement phone at a thrift store, she was lured by the low price of a “brick phone”.

The brick phone is reviving - Photo 1.

2 brick mobile phones taken in 2015, 2 years before Apple released the first generation iPhone.

West’s current phone, priced at just £8, comes from French firm MobiWire. And because it doesn’t have smartphone functionality, she doesn’t have to worry about expensive monthly data bills. “I’m happy with my choice. I don’t think it limits me. I’m definitely more proactive,” said the girl from London, adding that she would not buy a smartphone. other wise.

The brick phone market is reviving. According to a report by software company SEMrush, Google searches for brick phones increased by 89% from 2018 to 2021. One report said brick phone sales increased to 1 billion units last year. , up 2.5 times from 400 million units in 2019. Meanwhile, smartphone sales will reach 1.4 billion units in 2021, down 12.5% ​​in 2020.

Meanwhile, a 2021 study by the accounting group Deloitte says one in 10 mobile phone users in the UK has a brick phone.

The brick phone is reviving - Photo 2.

Robin West said her friends often ask her when to use smartphones again.

They suddenly become fashionable, nostalgic and appear in TikTok videos, said Ernest Doku, mobile expert at price comparison website The first cell phone many of us had was a brick. So it’s only natural that we feel nostalgic about these devices.”

Mr. Doku said it was the re-launch of the Nokia 3310 in 2017 that “ignited” the resurgence of brick phones. The diesel Nokia 3310 was released in 2000 and is one of the best selling mobile phones of all time. “Nokia pushed the 3310 as an affordable alternative in a world full of high-tech mobile phones.”

He added that while brick phones can’t compete with Apple or Samsung smartphones in terms of performance or functionality, they “outperform in equally important areas like battery life and durability.” .

Five years ago, Przemek Olenjniczak, a psychologist, traded his smartphone for a Nokia 3310, initially because of the longer battery life. However, he soon realized that there were other benefits as well.

The brick phone is reviving - Photo 3.

Przemek Olenjniczak has to prepare every route when traveling, instead of relying on smartphones as before.

“Before, I was always glued to my phone, checking anything and everything, browsing Facebook or the news, or other things that I didn’t need to know,” he said. “Now I have more time for myself and my family. Another huge benefit is that I am not addicted to liking, sharing, commenting or describing my life to others. Now, I have more privacy”.

However, Mr. Olejniczak, who lives in the Polish city of Lodz, admits the transition was challenging at first. “In the past I used to check everything, such as bus routes, restaurants on my smartphone (when traveling.) Now that’s not possible. So I learned to do it all. those things first at home. I’m used to it.”

A brick-and-mortar New York-based manufacturer, Light Phone, wanted to create a “brick but a little smarter” cell phone. Their devices allow users to listen to music and podcasts, and also connect to Bluetooth headphones. However, the company promises its phones will “have no social media, news, email, Internet browsing or any other online feeds for three hours”.

The company says it recorded its strongest year in terms of financial performance in 2021, with sales up 150% compared to 2020. This is an impressive feat considering its starting price of brick phones. up to 99 USD, no less than a popular smartphone.

The brick phone is reviving - Photo 4.

Light Phone

Light Phone co-founder Kaiwei Tang said the device was originally created to be used as a secondary phone for people who wanted to take a break from their smartphones during the weekends. Now, however, half of the company’s customers are already using it as their primary device.

Kaiwei Tang jokes that too many people are controlled by their smartphones. “If aliens come to Earth, they’ll think cell phones are transcending human control. And it’s not going to stop, it’s only going to get worse. Consumers are realizing that there’s something to it. Something’s wrong and we’d like to provide an alternative.”

What is surprising, Mr. Tang added, is that the company’s main customers are aged between 25-35 years old. He had expected the buyer to be much older.

The brick phone is reviving - Photo 5.

Kaiwei Tang joked that people are being controlled too much by phones.

Professor Sandra Wachter, an artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Oxford, says it’s understandable that some of us are looking for simpler mobile phones. “Today, connecting calls and sending messages of smartphones is almost a secondary feature. Smartphones are entertainment centers, news generators, navigation systems, diaries, dictionaries, and dictionaries. and your wallet”.

She adds that smartphones always want to “get your attention with notifications, updates and breaking news that constantly disrupt your day. This can make you stressed all the time, maybe even agitated”.

“Some of us are looking for simpler technologies and think a brick phone can help them. They want more time to fully focus on a task. It might even be possible. calms people down. Researchers show that choosing too much can create unhappiness and agitation.”

However, with Robin West, many people still cannot understand her decision. “Everybody thinks it’s just a temporary thing. Like, they say to me like, ‘when do you buy the smartphone? You’re going to get your smartphone back this week, right?'”

According to Duc Nam

Business and Marketing

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