What is a ‘silly phone’ – and why are so many young people buying it?

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solo23 June 2023Last Update : 3 months ago
What is a ‘silly phone’ – and why are so many young people buying it?

Gen Zs and millennials are turning to “dumb phones” and rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world.

In a world obsessed with smartphones, it may come as a surprise that a growing number of teens are opting for “dumb phones” instead.

Basic mobile devices that we took away a decade or two ago are making a comeback among the younger generation, as teens seek to gain independence from technology.

In the United States, sales of phones with just basic call and text capabilities were projected to soar into 2022 for HMD Global – the maker of the Nokia, with sales in the tens of thousands each month.

“We see the market for flip phones is up 5 percent,” said Lars Silberbauer, chief marketing officer for Nokia phones and HMD Global.

“We have doubled our market share in the last year of flip phones, which is very important for us. And we see that now growing in Europe,” he told Euronews Next.

“I think the trend is really [about] People are taking control of their own lives, their own digital lives,” he added.

What is a ‘dumb phone’?

With their limited features, dumbphones – typically flip phones – offer a simpler and less addicting user experience than their smartphone counterparts.

The devices prioritize essential telephone functions, such as making calls and sending texts. They eliminate the temptations of social media platforms, which on average consume more than 7 hours a day for more than 50 percent of teens. a survey An online survey was conducted on the app Real Research with over 40,000 participants.

Prolonged scrolling has a detrimental effect on our psychological well-being. Several studies have shown a possible link between endless scrolling and the development of ADHD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep.

Silberbauer believes that the rise of the dumbphone highlights a growing awareness among teens about the impact of technology on their own mental health.

“We can see from the research that young people are struggling with mental health, and so they’re opting out of social media,” he says, adding that he’s jumped on the trend himself, using his smartphone. Ditching that and turning to my dumbphone. weekend.

“I think you can see it with some of the Gen Z population — they’re tired of screens,” said Jose Briones, dumb phone influencer and moderator of the subreddit ‘r/dumbphones’ — a community about dumbphones, Smartphone to dumb, and feature phone – to cnbc,

In the subsection, users are encouraged to “join the revolution and enjoy the simple life!”

“Hey everyone, thinking of moving to a silent phone as my screen addiction has gotten worse. I have used dumbphone finder but I want to ask more approaches,” writes u/findlaymurdoch.

90s memories

Millennials, the younger generation over the years, are now getting older, and have been popular in recent years Culture Has been captivating their hearts with a sense of nostalgia.

In parallel, Gen Zs, the generation that grew up in front of screens, seem to be fascinated by a past they didn’t experience. For example, there are retro-inspired video games with pixelated graphics and simple gameplay. got it back a dedicated following.

The past is reminiscent of a time when life seemed simpler and more carefree, says Silberbauer, and this yearning for the past has also fueled a tendency to dumbphone.

“People want to go back to the 2000s or early 90s, I think it’s a memory of a happier time, a time where things were a little simpler”.

Dumbphone vs Smartphone: What’s the difference?

While smartphones offer advanced functionality such as endless amounts of applications, social media, and touchscreen displays, dumbphones are designed to be “basic phones” with limited features and capabilities.

Dumbphones of the 2000s have not really been untouched, although, as Silberbauer points out, there is “a whole range of dumb phones”.

Some of the contemporary improvements include 4G network coverage, upgraded cameras, and upgraded colors, “but overall, it’s pretty much the same”.

It is also possible to access a variety of features and services, but the phone is designed to make it “a little difficult for you to actually do it”.

It’s only “long enough for the weekend if you want to hang out with the kids, your partner, your friends and others,” Silberbauer said, “allowing you to still be connected, but really experience life.” Is.

Silberbauer explained that Nokia’s dumbphones are sold with different operating systems, including KaiOS, which “allows for a lightweight version of WhatsApp, which some people need”.

“You can pick and choose exactly what functionality you want and still have a phone with a battery that lasts up to 31 days on some of them, so you can charge your device 12 times a year . That is all”.

Smartphones are not expected to disappear: They cater to a different market.

Nokia continues to sell smartphones, and in January of this year they introduced a unique innovation: the repairable phone.

“They are repairable and durable,” said Silberbauer, adding that they are “one of the most durable phones on the market”.

“You can basically repair the phone with just a guitar pick and a small screwdriver. You can replace the screen, charging socket and battery within a few minutes”.

The company wants to “put phones in people’s hands for longer” — but not literally. They want to avoid requiring their customers to have a new phone every year, saying “that’s not a business model we really want to satisfy”.

According to the European Commission, machines that are discarded rather than repaired generate 35 million tonnes of waste and 261 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year in Europe. And in March this year, they announced that they would force companies to give consumers the right to repair their equipment or machines.

Under the proposals, a legal warranty period of two years, for example, would require producers to offer repair services if doing so does not cost more than replacement. Nokia is going an extra mile.

“I can promise you that the next generation will be even easier to repair,” Silberbauer said.

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