“Dumbphones” Making a Huge Comeback

(ConservativeStar.com) – When the first cell phones came on the market, they were essentially nothing more than the landline that most everyone had plugged into their wall. The only real difference was that one could now make or take voice-only calls wherever they happened to be, as long as they were in areas with coverage.

That’s no longer true. In fact, people are connected to their phones all the time, but many people want to go back to a time when they didn’t constantly have a device in their hands. They are changing out their smartphones for so-called “dumbphones,” and they might be on to something.

The Rise of the Smartphone

It may come as a surprise to many people, but the first device to be bestowed with that term was the Simon Personal Communicator invented by IBM in 1992 and sold on the market in 1994. To say that it was less than equal to what’s available today is a bit like saying that an F-22 Raptor has a few more features than what the Wright Brothers took on their flight over Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

In the final year of the 20th Century, Sharp Corporation changed the game again by adding a camera to the phone it released in Japan. In 2007, Steve Jobs and his company Apple managed to one-up even that and introduced the first iPhone that allowed for full Internet compatibility and a screen designed for video.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Over the years, we’ve arrived at a point where it seems that everyone over the age of 10 has a smartphone either in hand or within easy reach at all times, for some literally 24/7/365. With platforms such as Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Twitter, TikTok, and all the rest, people all around the world can instantly connect to one another.

While that can be a great boon for parents who may have children traveling around the world, it also means that various ringtones can go off every time a friend posts a meme of a cute kitten with a silly caption. It’s now to the point where some are labeling the attention smartphones get as an addiction — even if that isn’t an “official” diagnosis.

According to an April 2021 poll from the Pew Research Center, 90% of American adults said Internet access has been “essential or important” for them during the coronavirus pandemic. However, that does not mean it’s all flowers and sunshine. Pew also reported that of the 81% of the people who used video calling, 40% said that they “often or sometimes feel worn out” by the experience.

Everything Old Is New Again

In a recent article on the BBC website, they reported on the uptick in the sales of “dumbphones” in areas around the world. While these are new devices — or perhaps slightly used — they’re essentially the same as the product by Sharp Corporation mentioned above.

BBC interviewed 17-year-old girl Robin West to find out why she has bucked the trend of her friends and peers by going back to the basics. She cited several reasons, such as spending too much time on social media, the inexpensive price of her secondhand unit which was £8 (roughly $10.25), and the ability to drop the expensive data plans.

Reports from Israel say there’s been a sharp increase in sales of phones like these because police in the country allegedly used a spyware program known as Pegasus (developed by NSO Group) to spy on citizens without their knowledge. According to the New York Times, in a January 2022 expose, even after abuses by other world governments had become known, the FBI bought and tried out the software.

The article relates the events of the test beginning with employees of the Bureau buying smartphones and then exchanging SIM cards so that they had overseas phone numbers — allegedly because Pegasus was designed so that American numbers could not be accessed. Once the program was launched against these numbers, the test subjects had no idea that their phones were being compromised until monitors in the room started showing everything, which is not an exaggeration, stored on them.

This leads us to a question for you, the reader, to consider. Is going back to basics on your ways of communicating a good idea?

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