Phoney Phones Battle ‘Smartphone Addiction’

A designer has created a bogus smartphone to help addicted users wean themselves off handling devices. But it appears to be more of a conversation-starter than a serious commercial prospect.

The range of five designs take a similar approach to smoking cessation projects of yesteryear which worked on the basis that the physical sensations of handling a cigarette were as much a part of the addict’s routine as the tobacco and nicotine inhalation itself. That led to many ‘devices’ that were effectively just a stick that the user could hold on to rather than risk ‘itchy fingers’ leading to a relapse.

Leonhard Hizensauer’s fake phones are simply black plastic with stone beads arranged in familiar shapes. The idea is that users can handle the phone and even use the beads to simulate scrolling, swiping and pinching-to-zoom. He says it’s a therapeutic approach to the problem of “grabbing your smartphone at the first sign of boredom.”

The phones aren’t on sale right now and instead have only been publicly available at a recent design exhibition in Vienna.

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