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People who leave smartphones use ‘bricked’ phones

Robin West, 17, considers himself unusual compared to his peers when it comes to just using a regular phone instead of enjoying TikTok and Instagram on a smartphone.

West, who lives in London, gave up his cell phone two years ago in favor of a $10 plus MobiWire phone. Compared with iphonethe device can only send SMS, make calls, listen to the radio, take some low resolution photos.

“I didn’t really pay much attention to my smartphone time until two years ago. I have a lot of social media installed and spend a lot of time on it, making most other things almost impossible to do,” he says. “But now, I’m definitely a more proactive person.”

West Robin.  Photo: BBC/Robin West

West Robin. Photo: BBC/Robin West

Five years ago, Przemek Olejniczak, a psychologist, also decided to replace his smartphone with a new model. Nokia 3310 a “revived” version came out in 2017. Initially, he just wanted a device with a longer battery life, but soon realized that it had many other benefits.

“In the past, I was always glued to my phone, my mind wanting to check everything from Facebook messages to daily news, even other information I didn’t really need to know,” says Olejniczak. “But now, I have more time for my family. I’m no longer ‘addicted’ to sharing, commenting or describing my life to others. I have more privacy.”

Olejniczak, who now lives in the Polish city of Lodz, admits that switching from a smartphone to a smartphone is very difficult. However, after a successful transition, he felt relieved to not depend on it, and took the initiative to work in the most comfortable way.

Przemek Olejniczak.  Photo: BBC/Przemek Olejniczak

Przemek Olejniczak. Photo: BBC/Przemek Olejniczak

West and Olejniczak are two of those interested in returning to recent “brick” phones. According to data from SEMrush, the number of Google searches for this phone between 2018-2021 increased by 89%. Meanwhile, Counterpoint Research once estimated that feature phone sales could reach one billion units in 2021, up 2.5 times from 400 million in 2019, but so far this research firm has not released new data.

“Basic phones are re-emerging in a fashionable, nostalgic and exciting style. For many people, this phone is the first device, so they want to find memories even with a smartphone.” Ernest Doku, mobile expert for price comparison site Uswitch, commented.

Doku gave an example, the Nokia 3310 which was refreshed and launched in 2017 and then made many people curious, nostalgic, and want to own it again. In fact, the product reaches good sale shortly after release. Similar “bricked” models, although not comparable to iPhones or Androids in terms of features or performance, are superior in terms of battery life, are hassle-free, and are less vulnerable to cyberattacks, he added. .

Holding the needs of some users who like to be nostalgic and don’t want to be disturbed by smartphones, several manufacturers have released products with special features. New York-based Light Phone, for example, released a $99 phone that would allow users to listen to music and podcasts via a Bluetooth headset, but promised it “never has social media, news, email, presentations, Internet browsing or any other anxiety-provoking bait.” limited”.

Phone model that supports calling and listening to music from the Light Phone.  Photo: Light Phone

Phone model that supports calling and listening to music from the Light Phone. Photo: Light Phone

Kaiwei Tang, co-founder of Light Phone, said the phone was originally intended for users who want to get away from smartphones for a few weeks. But now, many people are leaving their primary device to use their cell phone, mostly 25-35 years old. These are people who want a device that is less intrusive, accepts only basic communications, or doesn’t want to be hacked and tracked by hackers.

Professor Sandra Wachter, senior technology expert and AI researcher at the University of Oxford, said that some users turn to “brick” phones when they start to feel afraid of smartphones.

“Nowadays, making calls or sending messages is almost a secondary feature. Smartphones are now entertainment hubs, news sources, navigation systems, diaries, dictionaries, and even wallets,” commented Ms. Watcher. “Smartphones always attract attention with notifications and hot news, but constantly interfere with other tasks. This can make the user always stressed, maybe even restless.”

According to Ms. Wachter, before the bad impact of smartphones, users would look for simpler technologies to balance their psychology. However, he believes that giving up the smartphone will also be “emotional”, meaning that at some point, they will use the smartphone again.

West said his choice of using a “bricked” phone was also questioned. “People think it’s just a temporary device. They also ask me questions like: When did you buy a new smartphone?, or Did you use a smartphone this week?”, West said.

Bao Lam (based on BBC)

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