20 votes

The Light Phone

44 comments

  1. joplin
    Link
    Interesting idea, but from where I sit, I can get a regular smart phone and control the notifications and choose what software to put on it. I don't need specialized hardware to help me with that....

    Interesting idea, but from where I sit, I can get a regular smart phone and control the notifications and choose what software to put on it. I don't need specialized hardware to help me with that. But maybe some others do?

    I find the design very interesting. The UI is very reminiscent of the original iPod with its black and white UI. I kind of like it but also find it kind of cheesy. (So I guess I like cheesy things!) With edge-to-edge glass being so popular now, the iPhone 4-esque design of the hardware looks so dated, though.

    But it's an interesting idea. If they've already sold out of 1 batch, then I guess it's at least got a niche. If anyone here buys one, let us know how you like it!

    13 votes
  2. [22]
    vivaria
    (edited )
    Link
    This is exactly my kind of phone! I have a dinky old blackberry from 2011 which I intentionally downgraded to from a smartphone. My reasoning was exactly the same as what this company's philosophy...

    This is exactly my kind of phone! I have a dinky old blackberry from 2011 which I intentionally downgraded to from a smartphone. My reasoning was exactly the same as what this company's philosophy is. From their FAQ page:

    While considering additional functionality for the Light Phone II, it's important to remember all of the features it will never have. The Light Phone II will never have social media, email, news or ads. Our tools are intentional, there is a clear objective in opening the tool, it's not an infinite feed. This philosophy is continued into the design of the hardware to reflect this with a small black and white screen that inherently limits its functionality.

    I wanted exactly this. Something useful but not a computer in my pocket. I wanted to use it as little as possible.

    But... there's no way I could ever justify spending $350 on what will functionally be the same as my (very cheap) refurbished blackberry. It has almost exactly the same locked down features, a comparable battery life, the ability to be used as a music player, you name it. This Light phone has too small a screen to show you past messages while you're typing your text -- the BB I have has it beat there, hah. I'm skeptical about an e-ink display, too. I'm curious what it's like to use in practice, especially w.r.t typing response times.

    The only thing this device has over my BB is navigation. I'm really curious about that demo animation they show, and how well that actually works in practice. But, if you're fine without navigation, something from here would probably be better to experiment with before getting one of these.

    11 votes
    1. [3]
      babypuncher
      Link Parent
      I like the idea, but there are certain features that require a more fully feature smartphone t hat I find indispensable. The big ones being GPS/maps, and a web browser. I feel like the screen time...

      I like the idea, but there are certain features that require a more fully feature smartphone t hat I find indispensable. The big ones being GPS/maps, and a web browser.

      I feel like the screen time features in iOS are meant to address the same problems as the Light Phone without physically limiting the hardware.

      9 votes
      1. vivaria
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Oh, certainly. My setup is definitely extreme. I just found that for myself, having hardware limitations was worth giving up maps and a web browser. Stopping myself from bypassing the software...

        Oh, certainly. My setup is definitely extreme.

        I just found that for myself, having hardware limitations was worth giving up maps and a web browser. Stopping myself from bypassing the software restrictions I set for myself takes mental energy, so removing the option entirely gives me peace of mind.

        I wish I could put hardware limitations on my laptop, too, but certain things are just too critical for my everyday life.

        If I get to the point where I don't need to search all of the internet on a daily basis (for work, etc.) I might lock things down a lot more aggressively and stick to a limited set of functionality.

        9 votes
      2. mrbig
        Link Parent
        I actually limited a bunch of apps on iPhone and made my roommate change the password and hide it from me. It was very effective.

        I actually limited a bunch of apps on iPhone and made my roommate change the password and hide it from me. It was very effective.

        3 votes
    2. [18]
      Grzmot
      Link Parent
      Ah, so you were the single person with the Blackberry phone in the census. ;)

      Ah, so you were the single person with the Blackberry phone in the census. ;)

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        It has been pointed out to me that you do not know the identities of the people who answered the census, so you can not be sharing private information. I apologise for saying you were cavalier...

        It has been pointed out to me that you do not know the identities of the people who answered the census, so you can not be sharing private information.

        I apologise for saying you were cavalier with other people's data.

        cc: @Keegan @emdash @vivaria

        5 votes
      2. [14]
        Algernon_Asimov
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Ahem. I thought responses to the census were private? (And you wonder why I didn't want to give my exact age...) EDIT: https://tildes.net/~tech/km7/the_light_phone#comment-4e5n

        Ahem. I thought responses to the census were private?

        (And you wonder why I didn't want to give my exact age...)

        EDIT: https://tildes.net/~tech/km7/the_light_phone#comment-4e5n

        2 votes
        1. [13]
          vivaria
          Link Parent
          There was a screenshot of a summary of the results posted in the topic! :P And yep, I'm the lone BB OS person there. :)

          There was a screenshot of a summary of the results posted in the topic! :P

          And yep, I'm the lone BB OS person there. :)

          5 votes
          1. Grzmot
            Link Parent
            Algernon seems a liitle confused, if anything please be assured that I did not mean to offend. I was making a light hearted joke. :(

            Algernon seems a liitle confused, if anything please be assured that I did not mean to offend. I was making a light hearted joke. :(

            5 votes
          2. [11]
            Algernon_Asimov
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            EDIT: https://tildes.net/~tech/km7/the_light_phone#comment-4e5n
            1. vivaria
              Link Parent
              I'm confused. There was a single person who wrote BB OS, and I self-identified in this thread that I use a BB. It seems really easy for anyone to put two and two together... I'm not sure Grzmot...

              I'm confused. There was a single person who wrote BB OS, and I self-identified in this thread that I use a BB. It seems really easy for anyone to put two and two together... I'm not sure Grzmot was really outing me or anything, hah. :V

              7 votes
            2. [9]
              Keegan
              Link Parent
              Wtf. @vivaria literally said they use a BlackBerry. Grzmot didn't say that. I don't know what the issue here is. You're making an issue out of nothing. I find it worrying that you're being so...

              Wtf. @vivaria literally said they use a BlackBerry. Grzmot didn't say that. I don't know what the issue here is. You're making an issue out of nothing.

              I find it worrying that you're being so quick to try to crucify @Grzmot to justify your earlier behavior.

              6 votes
              1. [8]
                Algernon_Asimov
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                EDIT: https://tildes.net/~tech/km7/the_light_phone#comment-4e5n
                1. [3]
                  emdash
                  Link Parent
                  I appreciate that you're back, and the insightful discussions you often bring, but I don't appreciate the unchill sentiment you bring to many threads. For the sake of many others here, chill.

                  I appreciate that you're back, and the insightful discussions you often bring, but I don't appreciate the unchill sentiment you bring to many threads. For the sake of many others here, chill.

                  6 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Algernon_Asimov
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    EDIT: https://tildes.net/~tech/km7/the_light_phone#comment-4e5n
                    1. Keegan
                      Link Parent
                      You're just being stubborn in trying to bring down someone else to justify your earlier complaints about not wanting to use your exact age. That is why nobody is agreeing with you.

                      You're just being stubborn in trying to bring down someone else to justify your earlier complaints about not wanting to use your exact age. That is why nobody is agreeing with you.

                      5 votes
                2. [4]
                  Keegan
                  Link Parent
                  What? I really don't think you understand what is going on here. census is taken, one person says BlackBerry anonymously results posted publicly, anyone can see them user posts that they use...

                  What? I really don't think you understand what is going on here.

                  • census is taken, one person says BlackBerry anonymously
                  • results posted publicly, anyone can see them
                  • user posts that they use BlackBerry
                  • user two points out they must be the one person who used BlackBerry OS, since they use a BlackBerry, not revealing any other info

                  Anybody could have done that last bullet.

                  5 votes
                  1. [3]
                    Algernon_Asimov
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    EDIT: https://tildes.net/~tech/km7/the_light_phone#comment-4e5n
                    1. [2]
                      Keegan
                      Link Parent
                      He didn't know that it was vivaria from the survey. He merely figured it must have been her after she said she uses that phone. Try to look upon the situation as if someone else pointed out that...

                      He didn't know that it was vivaria from the survey. He merely figured it must have been her after she said she uses that phone.

                      Try to look upon the situation as if someone else pointed out that vivaria must be who answered that. Would the attitude change?

                      6 votes
                      1. Kuromantis
                        Link Parent
                        Guys, I think he(?)'s trying to apologize.

                        Guys, I think he(?)'s trying to apologize.

                        1 vote
  3. [5]
    timo
    Link
    It really sounds like it solves a problem of our time... For some people. When I look closely at what I use on my phone, a lot of them are "tools" already. Listening to music, podcasts, checking...

    It really sounds like it solves a problem of our time... For some people.

    When I look closely at what I use on my phone, a lot of them are "tools" already. Listening to music, podcasts, checking the weather, navigating, 2FA, online banking, taking notes, making photos, using my calendar. Those things aren't externally pushed to me in "feeds" (with maybe the exception of new podcasts). I control them.

    I also use my phone for Netflix, YouTube, browsing, social networks, reading.

    The Light Phone would actually sacrifice a lot of the "tools" functionality to get me to stop using "feeds". I agree with @babypuncher that your smartphone could handle these things for you. But for some (or many) that might not cut it.

    I also doubt the use of an e-ink screen. I enjoy reading on e-ink, but using it for quick input the experience is quite poor.

    Last point: $350 is quite a lot when you actually sacrifice a lot of functionality compared tot other devices. Yes, even when considering its niche, research cost, etc.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      It actually seems like the problem is just social media. Do people really have a problem with chronically checking the weather, or spending all their time checking their bank account? The only...

      It actually seems like the problem is just social media. Do people really have a problem with chronically checking the weather, or spending all their time checking their bank account? The only thing I ever see people do on their phones for long periods of time are check social media and play games. I don't have any social media accounts besides a facebook account that my job requires me to have and I never check, and don't have the app installed, and I don't have games on my phone, so I never have an issue with either of these.

      Intentionally buying a phone that can't do the other ten thousand useful, non distracting things a smartphone can do seems like moving into a shack in the middle of an abandoned lot so you don't have to deal with looking at a lamp you don't like in your house.
      Just get rid of the lamp.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        Poor people do this all the time. I'm in the middle of a financial shortage at the moment and I can tell you for sure that I have been checking my bank account a minimum of once a day since the...

        Do people really have a problem with [...] spending all their time checking their bank account?

        Poor people do this all the time. I'm in the middle of a financial shortage at the moment and I can tell you for sure that I have been checking my bank account a minimum of once a day since the start of it.

        But, yeah, I get it. I find it amazing that people would rather spend hundreds of dollars on artificial barriers rather than spending a few hours trying to fix their addictive personality problems.

        2 votes
        1. vivaria
          Link Parent
          Woof, that's a blunt way of putting that. I'm not sure it's a problem that can be fixed in a few hours, and I'm not sure that it's a personality problem. :P

          spending a few hours trying to fix their addictive personality problems.

          Woof, that's a blunt way of putting that.

          I'm not sure it's a problem that can be fixed in a few hours, and I'm not sure that it's a personality problem. :P

          4 votes
    2. emdash
      Link Parent
      Yeah. For most people, I think enabling Screen Time on their iPhone and setting app limits for social media should be enough.

      Yeah. For most people, I think enabling Screen Time on their iPhone and setting app limits for social media should be enough.

      4 votes
  4. [2]
    moocow1452
    (edited )
    Link
    Pretty much my thoughts are the consensus here, this is an interesting idea, but far too boutique for my needs, especially since could can get a Mobile Pi setup, an eInk screen, and a Cell Modem...

    Pretty much my thoughts are the consensus here, this is an interesting idea, but far too boutique for my needs, especially since could can get a Mobile Pi setup, an eInk screen, and a Cell Modem for probably half the cost. (Hey, wouldn't you know it!)

    What I am curious about is the Alcatel Go Flip 3, a phone that was just released that hits a lot of my buttons for easy to use what I want, and harder to use what I don't. I could bang out a Tildes post on a T9 if I HAD to, but it's not as desirable to, and there's less chance to fall down a Reddit hole if the internet browsing interface is harder to work. But I can still pull up a YouTube video, map and navigate, ask Google a question, make calls and text and use some web services, but more on my own terms, at least, that's the romantic ideal.

    6 votes
    1. Keegan
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      You're paying for a polished product though hopefully. The images of the project linked don't look anything like something I'd take into public, probably because I'd get accused of it being a bomb.

      especially since could can get a Mobile Pi setup, an eInk screen, and a Cell Modem for probably half the cost.

      You're paying for a polished product though hopefully. The images of the project linked don't look anything like something I'd take into public, probably because I'd get accused of it being a bomb.

      8 votes
  5. [2]
    clone1
    Link
    I don't know if the reason people are on their phones too much is because they're too enticing like the ad implies. The video was full of attractive people in beautiful places doing interesting...

    I don't know if the reason people are on their phones too much is because they're too enticing like the ad implies. The video was full of attractive people in beautiful places doing interesting things, but i think that usually excessive phone use (Or almost any other addiction) is caused by lack of ability to do interesting things, whether from poverty, living in a rural area, mental or physical disabilities, just being too mentally drained from your job, etc, and that getting a less useful phone probably won't change your life.

    4 votes
    1. vivaria
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This really resonates with me! I found myself using my smartphone as a coping mechanism when I was stressed. I would habitually open up a website to soothe myself because of the dopamine hits from...

      i think that usually excessive phone use (Or almost any other addiction) is caused by lack of ability to do interesting things, whether from poverty, living in a rural area, mental or physical disabilities, just being too mentally drained from your job, etc, and that getting a less useful phone probably won't change your life.

      This really resonates with me! I found myself using my smartphone as a coping mechanism when I was stressed. I would habitually open up a website to soothe myself because of the dopamine hits from checking a content feed.

      But, I'd add a small disclaimer for that last bit. Switching to a less useful phone probably won't directly affect the underlying issues, but it can make things a little easier if you're not in a position to readily make those bigger changes.

      e.g. for me, my degree causes me a ton of stress... but I still need to get up every day and go to classes, study, complete work, etc. Downgrading to a dumbphone didn't relieve the stress caused by my degree, but it does enable me to function a little better while I wait to graduate. (e.g. there's no risk of checking social media during a lecture if I don't have a phone to check in the first place, which makes it easier to employ healthier coping mechanisms.)

      If I were in a position where I knew my finances/career would be more secure, I might not be as stressed, and might not need the same extreme measures I've taken on.


      The video was full of attractive people in beautiful places doing interesting things,

      (Also, I do like this point you made specifically in the context of this product, and the use of marketing to tout this as a more thorough solution than it really is. For me, a dumbphone is a stopgap! I don't at all like companies trying to push this as a more permanent solution for deeper problems.)

      Great comment! :D

      2 votes
  6. [4]
    alexandre9099
    Link
    So that would be a e-ink feature-phone?

    So that would be a e-ink feature-phone?

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      Diff
      Link Parent
      Technically it does run Android. Just not any Play Store apps.

      Technically it does run Android. Just not any Play Store apps.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        alexandre9099
        Link Parent
        But can it run android applications? I don't see what would be the gain of running android if it didn't run it's applications..

        But can it run android applications? I don't see what would be the gain of running android if it didn't run it's applications..

        2 votes
        1. jwong
          Link Parent
          Android SDK handles all the building blocks of OS so they don’t have to.

          Android SDK handles all the building blocks of OS so they don’t have to.

          2 votes
  7. [2]
    Akir
    Link
    Oh dear, that design looks terrible. Why does the front have so much wasted space? Why is it so thick? why are the up and down buttons smaller than the menu buttons (especially when I'm assuming...

    Oh dear, that design looks terrible. Why does the front have so much wasted space? Why is it so thick? why are the up and down buttons smaller than the menu buttons (especially when I'm assuming you'll need to push them more frequently)? Why is it using Micro USB when everyone's already moved on to USB-C?

    Granted, most of my problems are aesthetic and some people may like this, but honestly I don't see how this is an improvement over your average 'non-smart' phone.

    3 votes
    1. emdash
      Link Parent
      I think most consumers have probably gotten very used to polished phones from companies that can afford and justify nice features via economies of scale and huge R&D budgets. Hell, even the...

      I think most consumers have probably gotten very used to polished phones from companies that can afford and justify nice features via economies of scale and huge R&D budgets. Hell, even the LibrePhone looks pretty awful too, and they've acknowledged it has a super high price point and won't have a high quality fit and finish initial runs.

      Building a phone is hard. They probably don't have the scale to justify anything more than off-the-shelf components with very little options for integration. Not saying it's an excuse, I agree doesn't look great, but that's probably why.

      3 votes
  8. Dobbie03
    Link
    I could quite happily use one of these.

    I could quite happily use one of these.

    1 vote
  9. Kuromantis
    Link
    Damn, that's some onion level marketing right there. If you want my serious opinion, go to this thread.

    Designed to be used as little as possible.

    Damn, that's some onion level marketing right there.

    If you want my serious opinion, go to this thread.

    1 vote
  10. [3]
    jackson
    Link
    I think it would be a lot more appealing if you could sideload some specific apps. There are quite a few things that I actually do want to have on my phone, even if I want to disconnect: mobile...

    I think it would be a lot more appealing if you could sideload some specific apps. There are quite a few things that I actually do want to have on my phone, even if I want to disconnect:

    • mobile banking
    • Authy or another authenticator solution
    • PayPal/Venmo/other cash xfer app, far preferred to carrying cash to me, at least.
    • And of course the proprietary nonsense like Okta Verify (perfect for something you'd truly sideload)

    The use cases are small enough that simply having some kind of API where you navigate somewhere on a computer and it downloads on your phone via your Light account would be reasonable, rather than a centralized marketplace.

    1. [2]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      If it is an Android device, it can probably be rooted or adb'd into.

      If it is an Android device, it can probably be rooted or adb'd into.

      1. HoolaBoola
        Link Parent
        But that, on the other hand, kind of defeats the purpose :D

        But that, on the other hand, kind of defeats the purpose :D

        2 votes
  11. adrianbblk
    Link
    This the ugliest thing I ever saw. and useless also 🙄

    This the ugliest thing I ever saw. and useless also 🙄