So Christmas is a couple of days away, and I bet if you are actually reading this today it is only to provide a brief respite from your crazed last-minute preparations (if you are someone who celebrates the holiday) or your internal seething of having to be stuck at work picking up the slack for everyone else who has already checked out (either mentally or physically).
But I am pretty sure no matter which camp you fall into, there is one piece of holiday prep that none of you have completed as yet—namely, buying ME a present. I know this based on two empirical observations I have made over the holiday season. One, no gifts with a return address name of “Grateful FOT reader” have turned up at my door. And two, none of you have actually asked me what I wanted for a gift this year. Both are simple oversights, I am sure. Right?
Anyway… I will make it easy for you, (as easy as I can since it is Dec. 23) and Christmas is, I am pretty sure, still on December 25. All I want this year is a simple flip phone, something like the LG 450 or the like. Why do I want a flip phone when we are entering the golden age of smartphones, mobile-first (or only) development of many new applications, and an entire cadre of HR and workplace prognosticators who have spent the last seven years or so banging us over the head about the importance of mobile?
Well, before I get to the real reason, let’s have a look at some of the features of the above-mentioned LG 450. And please note, this is not a sponsored post—LG has no idea I am trying to resuscitate the market for the flip phone. Ok, so back to the features… get a load of these:
- Able to send and receive calls and texts
- Alarm clock function
- 1.3 Megapixel camera
- Convenient “folding” form factor
- And lots (well, a few) more
Pretty awesome list of features, #amirite?
But better still are the features that are purposefully left out of the LG 450, and as we all know, many great technologies are defined by what their designers and developers decide to leave out, in the name of ease of use and better user experiences.
So what won’t the LG 450 do? A partial list, mostly taken from the things that tend to bug me about my current “smart” phone (by the way, also an LG phone):
- “Buzz” with a notification over 125 times this past weekend because some unknown Twitter user with 116K followers sent out this tweet, mentioning me
- Provide me approximately 194 variations of the smiley face emoji that cause me to actually pause to consider how nuanced my actual message in terms of emoji should be. Am I smiling with tears of joy? Or just smiling? Or what about laughing? Laughing out loud or more of a little chuckle? Arggh, I can’t decide, I will just go with 🙂
- Make you always reachable, or at least create the perception that you are always easily reachable. When you drop constant connectivity to email from your phone, then folks who feel the need to contact you at 11PM or on the weekend probably have to text or call. And still for most professionals, texting or calling are slightly higher bars to need to hurdle when considering pinging someone after work hours. I don’t mind being reachable. I just don’t want to be easily reachable to everyone in the world 24 hours a day.
- Make you an insane person in search of a power outlet wherever you go. There is nothing more annoying than being the person who can’t concentrate or relax because your iPhone is only at 18%. We used to roam the world in a desperate search for food and shelter. Now we scour the countryside for adapters and USB ports. And don’t get me started with Wifi in the bagel shop.
- Make you a target of the bad guys. In fact, the flip phone might even be able to protect you. Muggers don’t even want them.
Look, I know you love your iPhone or your Samsung or whatever it is you HAVE to have with you every minute of the day and that you fall asleep holding and that you grab the millisecond you wake up in the morning because seeing who liked your last Facebook status (posted at 11:43PM last night), is REALLY important. It is. I get it.
But I think the flip has some clear advantages (the muggers don’t even want it one is pretty big), and it just might be time to step it back, to dial it down a little. Does being constantly connected to the web, to your email, to the thousands of strangers you’ve “friended'” on social networks, really, truly make your life better?
Easier? Less stressed? Happier?
Think about it as you check your Instagram likes (I am @SteveBoese there by the way, and am nothing but a huge hypocrite).
Have a great holiday!