The Revival of the Flip Phone

As we are approaching 2015, you’d think that the hover-boards and made to measure clothing depicted in Back to the Future would become a reality by now. That is certainly not the case, if anything, we are going back in time to 2005, when flip phones were all the rage, and the Motorola Razr was the “it” phone everyone just had to have. Flip phones are having a retro-chic moment, resurfacing in the era of smartphone as a “dumbed down” alternative, being used by major celebrities such as Rihanna, and fashion icons, like the one and only Anna Wintour.

Rihanna spotted using a flip phone. (Photo: nymag.com)
Rihanna spotted using a flip phone. (Photo: nymag.com)

Wintour made headlines when she used her flip phone at the U.S. Open back in September. Other celebrities are joining Wintour, being spotted out on the streets, using their flip phones. Even Iggy Azalea, one of 2014’s hottest pop stars, has a flip phone and uses it for the sole reason of its longevity and durability, compared to that of the iPhone. Various politicos have also used archaic flip phones from the 1990s, showing their late-adoptiveness to the smartphone trends. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Charles E. Schumer have been spotted with flip phones circa late 1990s. Heck, even my dad still has a flip phone (I’m pretty sure he’ll be the very last person on the planet to get one!).

Anna Wintour checking her flip phone during the U.S. Open
Anna Wintour checking her flip phone during the U.S. Open

If you are a Millennial like me, your first phone was probably a flip phone. Throughout middle school, every kid who was an early adopter for cell phones, had a flip phone, preferably, a Motorola Razr, the phone that was the phone to own. Mine was so archaic, that it had an antenna sticking out the top of it! We all remember the days of T9 Word texting on the traditional numerical keypad.

When smartphones came along, us Millenials were the early adopters for them, followed by the older generations such as the Baby Boomers (our parents), and Generation X. According to a study done by the Pew Research Internet project, only 56% of adults own a smartphone, with 83% of 18-29 year olds owning smartphones, while the other 17% opt for something more basic. Given the demographic, Millennials have been more adaptable to the technology change in the last 10 years, with the developments of the smartphones and the tablets.

The Motorola Razr, the original "cool" phone. (Photo: cheap-phones.com)
The Motorola Razr, the original “cool” phone. (Photo: cheap-phones.com)

Many would be considered “hipsters” for reverting back to the pre-smartphone cell phone trend. For many, it’s much less about being hipster and more about simplifying and uncluttering their lives. With flip phones, it makes it harder to always be connected by not having email and Internet access at your fingertips. Flip phones, or any basic phone, offers call and text and other few simple features that are enough to function in everyday life. There is no worry of a Trivia Crack addiction or fear of your iCloud getting hacked. There is also something about being able to angrily snap the phone shut, something an iPhone can’t simply satisfy.

If you are like my dad, he claims that even us (myself, my mom and my sister) with our smartphones, still can’t effectively communicate, while he, with his archaic flip phone, does it better than the three of us combined sometimes. I think it is because without the distractions of various apps, it makes it easier to use the phone for it’s intended purpose – to communicate with others.

It seems that in the modern on-the-go age, everyone is tired of being consumed with the constant need to be connected. Business people are expected to be on call at all hours for their clients, even on the weekends when they wish to spend time with their families. Part of that is the businessman/woman let themselves become available rather than just let their clients know they will answer their concerns the next time they are in the office.

For journalists, it’s a bit of a different story, especially if you are an editor-in-chief, expected to manage writers and deadlines and whatever else comes up. I always have my email open during the day, both on my computer and phone in case I need to be reached. I even have various contacts marked as my “VIP” contacts on my email, so their emails come through immediately. You could say it’s because I fall into the Millennial generation that feels the need to be available at a moment’s notice.

I will say that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be less reliant on technology, and do more reading and other non-technology things. Being a Millennial let’s us have the best of both worlds: a traditional childhood without technology and a young adulthood with using different kinds of technology that wasn’t always around. It’s a privilege and a curse.

I do believe in the power of the flip phone to make a comeback, as one drastic way for those to simplify their lives, by cutting out all the unnecessary social media and gaming that comes with the smartphone. One of my simple solutions is to not keep apps on the phone that I know I won’t use in favor of the ones I will use. With all the apps developed, it’s hard to say no. You may think you need that app for customizing your phone’s interface, but how much are you really going to use it?

The easiest way to simplify your life, is to just exercise self-control. It’s easy to spend all day on your phone, but it’s just as easy to not. If that fails, you can just reach for the foolproof option and revert to a flip phone. Not only will it simplify your life, it will save you a ton of money as well!

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