How long ago did you last check your phone? Two seconds ago, on my end. But, what was the reason — a missed call? An email alert? A desire to peruse social media? A text thread that won't stop blowing up? ... all of the above? Yeah, same. I seem to have an automatic habit of reaching for my phone that's just as mechanical as the one I have when I'm diving fist first into a bag of jalapeño chips — it's unrelenting, and I'm sure the same for most smartphone users. Now, there's a phone in the works looking to change that, and it's so minimalistic, it... well, barely does anything. And that's the point. So, what is this Light Phone 2? This is not the phone for your selfie taking needs, that's for sure.
Let's be clear here that I'm not pitting this phone against my smartphone. You don't have to surrender your smartphone, you can still fill your camera roll with well-lit selfies and infinitely scroll through your Instagram feed until all of a sudden it's 10 minutes later — I think all that behavior is fine if someone wants to do so. The idea behind the Light Phone 2, according to creators Joe Hollier and Kai Tang, is to encourage people to engage more with the world by taking most smartphone features that keep people's attentions out of the equation. When you don't need to e-mail, don't. When it's not super necessary to hop on social media, don't. Basically, the Light Phone 2 is a phone that was designed to make you not want to use it, because it can only perform the basic features of calling and texting — and it's perfect for anyone who needs a digital detox. (It also doesn't hurt that it's really aesthetically pleasing.)
The Light Phone 2 is not a return to the stone age of flip phones and the only phone game that ever mattered, Snake. This is the kind of device that marries all that is right with a smartphone and all that was appreciated with a flip phone. You know, that time way back when when everyone was reading on their paper books while commuting to work and not getting their source of Vitamin D from the light of their phone? (Just kidding, you can't get Vitamin D from your phone.)
You can return to the sun and engage in eye contact without compromising on your ability to communicate with the Light Phone 2. As the official IndieGoGo campaign for the Light Phone 2 — which has raised over $600,000 dollars for the Brooklyn-based start-up to produce the phone — "By allowing you to leave behind your smartphone, it encourages you to spend quality time doing the things you love the most, free of distraction. We call this 'going light'. The Light Phone 2 brings a few essential tools, like messaging and an alarm clock." So, basically, it's still a 4G LTE phone with an option between matte black and white. It fits in the palm of your hands and make simplicity stylish in that blue jeans and white t-shirt kind of way. It might fit in your hands and have fewer features than a smartphone, but it is in no way bland.
This phone comes at a time when the world is starting to realize that maybe regarding our phones as an extra limb is more debilitating than helpful. Disconnecting has its perks. Business Insider reports a study with harrowing numbers that all smartphone users should confront, saying, "the analytics company Flurry found that people in the US use their mobile devices for five hours a day, while a study from the tech-support firm Asurion found that Americans check their phones 80 times a day on average. Much of that time is spent in apps."
While apps aren't all soul sucking and are built with a mission to connect people in ways and through avenues that weren't possible before (internet friends can be real friends), it helps to have a balance of what's organically in front of you. To stay in touch with the environment you're physically in. To look up, make eye contact, and not just figure that if it was meant to be with that guy in the cereal aisle you'd find him while swiping through Bumble.
The Light Phone 2 exists to offer the best between a phone with a memory space completely occupied by apps and a phone that simply only makes calls, like the original Light Phone (which could only make calls). This is the phone we all need to not lose touch on both plains of the digital and real world.