The Light Phone is the opposite of every other phone in existence. It is thin, light, lasts 20 days on a charge, and literally does nothing but make and answer calls. It’s as if the makers of the Sports Illustrated Football Phone had studied the timeless teachings of William Walker Atkinson and created a telephone that was the platonic ideal of the ultimate telecommunication device. The best thing? It costs $100.
What does it do? Nothing. You put in a SIM card, press a few buttons, and make a call. There’s no browser. No games. No NFC. It has quick dial, which is nice, and it doubles as a flashlight. Did I mention it lasts for 20 days on a charge?
The creators, Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang, created the phone at Google’s 30 Weeks incubator in NYC. They both came from a design background by Kaiwei has a background in building phones.
“We started building this because it became very clear that true happiness means being present. This has been written about by so many of the smartest minds since Seneca. So much of our days are spent connected and staring at screens that we are losing that presence in so many situations. We built the Light Phone as a way for people to find balance with their connectedness. It’s not that we think people should never connect again, it’s just that taking a break is extremely healthy in every sense of the word,” said Hollier.
The goal, ultimately, is to use the phone as little as possible. They include 500 minutes of pre-paid talk time and it charges via USB but they really want you to pull it out, make a call, and put it back. They plan on shipping in May 2016, which is a long time to wait for something that is supposed to bring you back into self-awareness, but them the breaks.
And get this: because it’s so basic (in a good way) it will never need to be replaced.
“This phone will likely never need to be replaced by a new model,” said Hollier. “This project is really about a conversation we want to start. Is where technology is going really the way we want in terms of living our day to day lives in the happiest sense? We are not against tech at all (clearly we joined an incubator and have a passion for this) but we think that maybe we need to put the human first in tech again and think about what kind of tech will make our lives better in the long term. I don’t think the Light Phone is the end all be all answer to this question but it’s our first step in starting the conversation and we have lots of ideas for going forward.”