I was listening to WSJ’s Minimalist Phones Take the Smarts Out of Your Smartphone podcast episode while walking to class and suddenly came up with the minimalist phone buffet idea. To give you a better context, I will start off by summarizing some key points about these minimalist phones.
- What is are minimalist phones? They are phones without all the apps and capabilities of smartphones.
- Why are they gaining attraction? Because of the growing concerns in tech addiction and negative effects resulting from tech usage.
- When did minimalist phone come out? Is it a new invention? Hell no. We’re definitely going back in time. What makes it lovable recently is because it’s coming out now as an effort to make users feel less distracted and overwhelmed by their current technology.
- Who are making them? Small enterprises, independently funded or crowdfunded.
- What features do minimalist phones have? It depends on the needs of their customers.
The last question turned on the thinking switch in me. Many minimalist phone companies are receiving feedbacks like I love this phone, but I need a specific feature that you don’t have. From this, Katie Deighton, the episode’s guest, recommended that each company should have a “north star” for the design to follow. Companies like Mudita are releasing their black-and-white phones and they have decided to exclude games and stick to their core principle, even though it is an attractive feature.
However, I had a different thought – why don’t companies allow customers to make-their-own minimalist phone? That way, they can choose, for example, their favorite chatting app for contact, a device that’s useful for the house (like an alarm clock or a calculator…). Of course, companies should still keep in mind their initial purpose of minimalism and their competitive price. So, one way to do is putting a cap on the number and the types of features to be included. I think this idea not only compromises well between customer desires and the company’s principle, but is also very do-able!
I’m excited to follow the next moves of minimalist phones! Will they die down or glow up?