A dumb phone may be a smart idea. “Too smart for your own good.” Maybe that should apply to our current age of gadgets like smartphones and tablets. Just 10 years ago, before the iPhone, the flip phone or feature phone was the smartest phone on the block. Now we call them dumb phones.But in line with minimalism or simplicity, maybe we would be better off if we minimized the smarts of our devices. A less-smart dumb phone just might be enough of a phone.
This is one reason why some people prefer eReaders, like the kindle, with their singular focus; they’re distraction free. They don’t interrupt you with notifications while you’re trying to be immersed in reading a good book. They may be “dumb” e-Ink tablets, in a manner of speaking, but their genius is found in their simplicity and focus. Sometimes limits are very good; they keep us from getting out of line.
Of course, there’s the idea of a singularly focused device being a master of that one function, like a dedicated point and shoot camera, rather than a ‘jack-of-all-trades’.
If we simplify, or dumbify, our devices, will we be better off?
There’s a flip-side to trading your smartphone for a flip-phone, or for trading your phone and tablet in for the devices they replaced. You end up with MORE devices! Think of it: phone, iPod/mp3 player, camera, e-Reader, laptop, Garmin GPS. Our phones and tablets replaced all these dedicated devices.
Or maybe just minimize the plethora of apps and services you have on your phone. Or go all-in with one ecosystem, one sign-on. Go all 1st-party; remove all 3rd party software. Or decide to use only the apps your phone came with built-in (yeah, no Facebook app!).