Demand for a “dumb phone” is on the rise; Light Phone 2 is a minimalist’s dream
By David Williams // Mar 31, 2018

Smartphones have taken over the world. They're with you when you wake up, you keep them close by throughout the day, and they are often the last thing you interact with before you go to sleep. This is the reality for millions upon millions of people everywhere around the world. And whether you want to admit it or not, the influence and reach of smartphones in people's everyday lives have become so much bigger than it ever has before.


But not everyone is happy about this development. Although smartphones are powerful little computers that open the door to almost limitless possibilities, in some ways, they can limit your freedom and take away precious time that you would have spent doing more productive things otherwise. Smartphones are at the forefront of many of today's most famous innovations, but they are also involved in many of the things that are wrong with society.

An increasing number of people are becoming dissatisfied with their smartphones, and are starting to embrace a more minimalist lifestyle. For these people, cheaper phones with limited features referred to as "dumb phones" are much better for daily use. Dumb phones typically only offer the most basic call and text features, and a rising number of people are realizing that they don't really need much more than that.

This phenomenon hasn't gone unnoticed in the tech industry. As such, there are some who are trying to capitalize on the opportunity to serve this market of minimalist phone users. One effort comes in the form of the Light Phone 2 – it's a product of a crowdfunded effort to move away from the complicated, "heavy" smartphones that are the norm today, and allows the user to access only a handful of essential cellphone features.

The Light Phone 2 is based on an earlier cellphone model called the Light Phone, which was built around the same key principles: minimalism in terms of the number of features as well as overall aesthetics. Whereas the original Light Phone only gave users a phone function, wherein they could use a simple keypad to make calls – and use speed dial to do so, at that – the second iteration brings a small number of new features to the table.

Described by its makers as a "simple 4G phone with e-ink messaging, and other essential tools," the Light Phone 2 is a slightly more feature-rich "dumbphone" that offers basic cellphone functions with the added bonus of having a built-in 4G wireless networking antenna. It has an e-ink screen that is not battery intensive, meaning its battery should last longer than your typical dumbphone, and it even has certain mobile sensors such as an accelerometer that will allow it to rotate its "display" depending on its orientation.

To make a long story short, its makers want to sell it to you in the name of getting away from the problem of relying far too much on a complicated, soul-sucking, and time-draining smartphone. When it was first announced as a new crowdfunding project on, it had a fixed goal of only $250,000. But now, it has already raised more than $1.1 million from almost 4,000 individual backers. Clearly, it has garnered a lot of attention and generated plenty of interest from the market at large.

It's an interesting piece of technology, to be sure. But if you think about it, there's something ironic about solving your problems with tech – in this case, with the overuse of high-powered smartphones – by using, you guessed it, even more tech. And the ticket to go on this unironically minimalist ride is not cheap, either.

To become a backer, or one of the people who funded the Light Phone 2 and allowed it to come to market, the lowest amount that you'd need to pledge is $250. You can even go higher: three people put in $2000 to reserve 10 units for themselves. But the minimum, to get the base model Light Phone 2, however it turns out to be, costs a quarter of a thousand dollars.

That's enough money to buy a modest entry-level smartphone, which may not come with all of the bells and whistles, but will certainly give you the option to do many of the things possible on the latest phones today. So apart from springing for a Light Phone 2 of your own, you have at least one other option: take the money that would have been spent on it and either buy a cheaper phone with fewer features than your current one or just learn to control your smartphone usage. You'll have a much better time and your wallet will thank you for it.

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