After releasing the Light Phone in 2017, the developers behind this handset, which touts itself as a “phone away from phone”, are planning to start shipping the second iteration of this device to Indiegogo backers by the end of October this year.
The Light Phone II is meant to provide an escape to smartphone users, and only has a handful of critical features built-in. Powered by its own Light OS, the Light Phone II does not have the many capabilities of traditional smartphones and comes out of the box with three core functionalities – calls, messaging and an alarm – with plans to expand the features of the phone according to feedback from early adopters.
Other tools, like a calculator, music player and directions functionality can be added from a pre-set toolbox on the Light Phone II. Referred to as “intentional tools”, the makers of the phone note that it will never have social media capabilities, email, ads or news, with the limited functionality aimed at eliminating the feed-scrolling habits that smartphone users so quickly adopt.
Although it is equipped with WiFi and Bluetooth, the phone does not allow for web browsing, instead the focus is on the communications abilities of the device. It allows for messaging and phone calls, but not any other messaging features. The phone has an E-Ink screen, similar to the screens of Kindles and other e-readers, and because it is black and white, picture messages or emojis are not supported.
The philosophy behind the crowd-sourced minimalist, bare-bones phone is that “our devices should serve us, not enslave us”. Ironically, and contrary to the amalgamation that we are seeing in the traditional smartphone sphere, where our devices are increasingly being integrated into more aspects of our everyday lives, the Light Phone II is “designed to be used as little as possible”.
It may not have all the bells and whistles, but the Light Phone II is also being considered a good entry device for children. Because it does not have a camera, nor does it have any browsing or social networking capabilities, it is an attractive option for parents who need to stay in touch with their kids but are worried about the risks that may lurk on the internet or social media.
The current versions of the Light Phone II are not compatible with South African bandwidth capabilities, but it will be interesting to see how the ideology that led to the creation of the Light Phone II has an influence on smartphones created by the world’s biggest manufacturers, that are also featuring more functionalities allowing users to “switch off” into their own flagship devices.