The co-founders Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang, an artist and a product designer, met in a Google experimental program in 2014 designed to help the two create smartphone apps. However, they realized that the last thing the digital world needed was another app to clutter the space. They started a Kickstarter for the Light Phone I, fulfilled their goal and received positive feedback, and will be shipping out the next order of Light Phone II in March 2020.
The goal is to create a “phone away from phone,” and allow users to live their lives less tethered to their phones, while still being reachable. The founders wanted to create a device that “respected” the user’s time and worked for the user, rather than the other way around.
Credit: Light Phone
However, these devices already exist. For as low as $15.
While the Light Phone II does have a more thoughtful design than the average flip phone, how much of a difference does this really make if the intention is to decrease the time a user spends on the phone? Is it worth an extra $300? Wouldn’t it be just as effective to use “bad” design to motivate a user to spend only the necessary time on the phone?
Buying more things will not solve every problem — especially when the problem is related to how we consume too much already. We tend to be on our phones constantly, never “living in the moment,” buying more clothes more often to keep up with trends, and the Light Phone II is just another gimmick that promises to solve all our problems in an easy, tangible way.
While it may work for some, there are easier (and cheaper) methods to the same end. The solution to every problem cannot be solved by technology, even though accolades and anecdotes may suggest otherwise.