A Dumb Smart Phone

https://digitalcitizen.ca/category/writing/Technology is supposed to make things smaller and better, often also cheaper. However, that has been anything but with the so-called “smart” phone. It’s gotten bigger with bigger screens, and now is looking at folding screens to make it thicker. It’s gotten heavier and more bulky to carry around. Most of the new features are more addictive than helpful like with apps and social media. And we’re paying more and more for it? What kind of rational product development is this? But I shouldn’t criticize unless I had a better solution, right? Well, allow me to imagine one.

Size
For starters, let’s imagine a smart phone half the length of the one you have, or just a tad longer if half makes it square. The rectangular format makes it easy to tell how you should hold it. Better yet, make it the size of a credit card! Keep the thickness so it’s not flimsy to handle and break more easily if dropped. You won’t need the drastically reduced screen size for much given what little I am proposing you can do with it.

Calls &  Text
You should be able to make phone calls and send/receive text in the same way as your typical smart phone, though with the smaller screen, you’d be dictating most texts, calling up the cramped digital keyboard only when you need it.

Emails
I would propose an ability to be able to get email from only one source, as text and pictures attached to work like a data text with pictures. That would require a service I don’t think exists, but should, where you can set up all your emails to auto-forward to it, where it converts everything to text, with options to attach pictures, and sends you the email like that to read or skip. You will have to open your email to reply, but it’d be an extra step, and inconvenient with a small screen, as a nudge and deterrent to reply only when you really need to, or reply as text through this proposed service that can reply to emails as text when linked with your actual email. But if you don’t want to imagine all that, just show start of email content as text on lock screens as possible now, when you decide to allow it.

Camera
This phone should have one decent camera like the smart phones of not too long ago. It’d be meant for documenting rather than anything with glorified quality, most of which people would never actually care for anyway as proven by many studies.

Social media
It’d be mostly for viewing, if at all because if the small phone size can’t squeeze enough computing power into it, then you know what? Maybe it’d be a good way for people to force themselves off of social media, or at least while they’re with their phones. Post via another device or send pics to them and post there. And for messages from these things, maybe create that service I don’t think exist that makes emails text, to make direct messages from these apps to be text as well! Reply from app on phone or on another device. This is meant to keep you from social media, remember, though not keep it away completely if you did need to rely on it for some messages.

Other apps
Have some available mostly for viewing, or with minimal interactions and little keyboard interactions, like Google Maps, or a limited sized browser with it. However, make it so most apps like games and such can’t be used because of too small a screen or some other recognizable limitation to the software.

That’d be it!
It’d be a little awkward for some things, like with the smaller screen, but instead of viewing that as an annoyance, I’d use that as a natural nudge deterrent not to use the phone too often. On mine, I’d even remove the social media, or find ways to make it text as much as possible, including messages from them like in Messenger.

Oh, if I could only make such a phone, and sell it at a fraction of the price of smart phones these days. A lot of people wouldn’t care for it, but I am willing to bet lots would for its convenience, comfort, and even limitations!

 

 

719 words

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