Anti-Smartphone Targets Bizarre Niche


A phone designed to overcome the complexity and distraction of smartphones will soon be on sale. But bizarrely it requires a smartphone to work.

The Light Phone costs $100 and was successfully funded on Kickstarter. It’s a device roughly the size of a credit card and does nothing other than make and receive calls. There’s no contact list but each of the 10 digit keys can be programmed as a separate speed dial button.

While the hype for the device was based around the stress and distraction that comes with a multi-function, Internet-connected smartphone, it’s been billed as offering something other than the obvious solution of buying one of the many ultra-basic phones that are usually aimed at elderly people with little interest in technology.

Instead the Light Phone has to be paired with a normal smartphone through a 2G micro Sim card, the idea being the smartphone can be left at home. In effect, it’s for people who want the benefits of owning a smartphone, but the “luxury” of being able to take a break. Within that niche, it’s suitable for that subset of people who need to be able to make and receive calls at all time, and aren’t capable of, well, just not using the other features.

Unfortunately the seemingly simple alternative has hit a few glitches. The BBC reports that some buyers are concerned the 2G connection will soon be obsolete in countries such as Singapore and Australia. The manufacturers have also had some hold-ups getting the necessary call-forwarding to set up smoothly on iPhones.