Close your eyes, sit back, and take a few seconds to remember a very delicate moment in recent history. It’s that mid-2000s sweet spot: George W. Bush was still in office, Britney Spears was mid mental-breakdown, and, of course, flip phones were at their prime.
We all remember flip phones. Whether you had a classic Samsung flip or the wildly popular Motorola RAZR, these modestly-evolved mobile devices acted as a vehicle for our journey to smart phones. Flip phones were quickly relished in their prime, but soon forgotten with the sweep of Apples and Androids.
With the pressures of a highly competitive, capitalistic society, technology continues to advance at an exponential rate. Some people choose to remain pure in old-school commodities, whether it’s a car radio or sticky-note reminders instead of digital ones, but society as a whole is moving forward.
While the country might have moved on to different presidents, wilder celebrity breakdowns, and more advanced technology, flip phones somehow still remained. That’s right. You can still buy and use them from online, phone carriers and even supermarkets like Walmart.
This got us here at SMS Connect thinking. How would life change if we regressed? What would working, living, and overall functioning in 2019 be like if we traded in our smartphone for a flip phone?
After doing a bit of research, we’ve compiled a comprehensive pros and cons list of using a flip phone in 2019. While we didn’t experience the flip in 2019, we found a few insights from those who did. Keep reading, and decide whether or not you think you’re up for the challenge this year.
Let’s take a trip back to the early 2000s, shall we?
Flip Phone Cons
1. Texting Is A Taller Task
We outlined the various and evolving capabilities that phones have been able to give testers worldwide in our History of SMS. While T9, a rudimentary predictive texting function, would be able to speed up your texting process in a flip phone, you just won’t have the same capabilities as a smart phone. Unless you purchase a “dumb” phone with a keyboard, you’ll have to repeatedly press buttons on your number keyboard until you finally achieve a readable message.
You also won’t be able to open internet links on your phone, as a lot of older flip phones won’t have internet capabilities. That means you can’t get as much work done on your phone, or look at memes anymore. Sorry.
2. You’ll Have To Rely on Other Devices
Since you can’t send emails or links from your phone anymore, you’ll have to rely solely on your computer for work or internet-related tasks. While this doesn’t seem too taxing, you’ll find that our instantaneously fast work environment and pace may be too fast for you. Getting a text about a work emergency on the subway will leave you anxious, as you have to wait to find wifi to use your computer.
3. Messaging May Not Be As Secure
Nowadays, iMessage and various third-party apps have end-to-end encryption, meaning that you can trust you won’t be hacked or surveilled. With traditional text messaging, you take a bit of a risk. Tech blogger Bertel King Jr expands on this in his musings about using a flip phone for a year. While this fear is actually more unlikely than not, it still leaves you a bit more peaceful at night knowing that your communications are safe and secure. With a flip phone, you might not have this same sense of peace.
However, this con only applies to those whose lifestyles or careers depend on it. The average Joe doesn’t pay much attention to encryption or lack thereof, so this con is relative.
Flip Phone Pros
1. Less Distractions
It’s no secret that smartphones are addictive, and the stats are astonishing. The Atlantic cites a study recording that smartphone owners check their phones roughly 150 times a day. Beyond just checking one’s phone, people spend an average of five hours a day browsing on the smartphones. The epidemic has also been affecting the next generation, as 50% of young people recorded in a study admit feeling dependent or addicted to their phones. Smartphone dependency even has the ability to change the way you think and function biologically.
However, we don’t need statistics to tell us that smartphones are a huge distraction in our daily lives. The smartphone craze is now a part of our daily struggle to pay attention; spending time with loved ones, doing work-related tasks, and even daily chores become plagued with the toil of resisting your mobile device. Not everyone has the willpower; it’s pretty commonplace to see someone zone out on their phone in the middle of a conversation or task. Maybe you’ve even done it before.
Smartphones Are Addictive By Nature
What many people don’t realize is that while willpower certainly is a factor, smartphones are quite literally designed to be addictive.
“‘You could say that it’s my responsibility,'” says Tristan Harris, an advocate for moral tech development in Silicon Valley, “… to exert self control when it comes to digital usage… but that’s not acknowledging that there’s a thousand people on the other side of the screen whose job is to break down whatever responsibility I can maintain.’ In short, we’ve lost control of our relationship with technology because technology has become better at controlling us.”
So while you might think it’s only that little voice in your head persuading you to pick up your phone, you’re half right. Your conscience has a companion, and it’s the smartphone itself. That’s where trying out a flip phone, or “dumb phone,” has its advantage. An old-school flip phone without internet or constant notifications could be the answer to a questionable life filled with bothersome notifications and distractions.
2. Text Marketing Is Still Available With Dumb Phones
Flip phones also allow for SMS messages, which will be useful to you when trying to stay updated on your favorite campaign, business, or public figure. Text message marketing remains, even after the excess of smartphone evolution.
A flip phone, equipped with only texts, calls, and sometimes games, can bring you back to minimalistic clarity. Without constant distractions coming from your smartphone, you can use your flip phone for fundamental functions instead of recreation or distraction. You’ll be able to focus on the tasks, people, and world before your eyes instead of a phone screen. While you might have to start checking your laptop for social media updates or work emails, you’ll still be completely reachable.
Tech blogger Bertel King Jr. gave up his smart phone for a year, and discovered that while today’s world is no longer structured to work without smartphones, it’s actually still completely possible to function and even thrive using a flip phone.
“This is still a device that I take with me everywhere, and at any moment, a phone call or text can snatch me out of the present moment. But at least when the conversation is over, there isn’t an app icon tempting me afterward. Life is now a bit easier to manage. Funny, considering that was supposed to be one of the perks of buying a smartphone in the first place.”
3. Flip Phones Are Evolving
While most flip phones are the archaic ones we used to use in the early to mid 2000s, there’s a small rumor in the tech world about smartphone anatomy. That’s right, many tech bloggers are predicting that 2019 will spark the rise of flip-smartphones. Many designers from large companies like Samsung and Apple are exploring more flexible screens that can bend and warp. Apple recently applied for a patent for a phone with a wrap-around display, and there’s talk of them releasing a foldable phone in 2020.
Of course, having an older flip phone would be much cheaper, as you’d only have to pay for talk and text, instead of adding data plans or any other type of third party app. Overall, you’d cut down expenses monumentally by using an old one. Newer flip phones will include all of those extra prices, plus the added price of it being the newest model.
Using a “smart” flip phone would of course defeat the purpose of switching to a flip phone; but if you’re a loophole person, look no further. Major tech companies have your back if you want to take on this challenge. You’ll have all the form of a flip phone without having to give up function.
If you’re asking whether or not we’d switch to an old flip phone, the answer is a resounding no. While the purist switch has its share of pros and cons, it’s by far less tedious to function in 2019 with a smartphone. However, we hope that entertaining the idea of using a flip phone has helped you realize what’s important in life, once the iPhones and Galaxys are taken away.
If you’re not up for the challenge, that’s okay. Just remember that while smart phones are excellent tools in a modern world, taking a day to live like you have a flip phone is necessary. Maybe set a notification on your phone that says “look up,” and take in the world around you before it’s too late.