What is a “dumb phone” and why do so many young people buy it?

What is a “dumb phone” and why do so many young people buy it?

Gen Z and millennials are returning to “dumb phones” to rediscover the pleasures of the offline world

In a world obsessed with smartphones, it might come as a surprise that more and more teens are choosing “dumb phones” instead.

Simple mobile devices that we might have used a decade or two ago are making a comeback in the new generation as teens seek to take back control of their devices.independence from technology.

In the United States, sales of phones with basic calling and text messaging increased in 2022 for HMD Global, the maker of Nokia, with tens of thousands sold per month.

“We see the mobile phone market growing by 5 percent,” said Lars Silberbauer, Chief Marketing Officer of Nokia Phones and HMD Global, adding that “over the past year, we have doubled our mobile market share.”

What is a “dumb phone”?

With their limited features, dumb phones offer a simpler and less immersive user experience than smartphones.

These devices prioritize basic phone functions, such as making calls and sending messages, eliminating the temptations of social media platforms that occupy, on average, more than 7 hours per day for more than 50% of teens, according to a survey of more than 40,000 respondents. In Real Research, an online survey app.

’90s nostalgia

Millennials, the generation younger for years, are getting older and indulging in nostalgia.

At the same time, Generation Z, who grew up in front of screens, seems to be fascinated by the past that they could not live. For example, retro-inspired video games with pixelated graphics and simple gameplay have regained great popularity.

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The past has become a reminder of a time when life seemed simpler and more convenient, Silberbauer says, and that nostalgia has also fueled the rise of the dumb phone trend, he adds.

“People want to go back to the early 2000s or the ’90s, and I think it’s a reminder of a happier time, a time when things were a little simpler.”

Smartphone and smartphone: what’s the difference?

While smartphones provide advanced features such as a large number of applications, smartphones are designed to be “basic phones” with limited features and capabilities.

However, there are “a whole bunch of dumb phones out there,” Silberbauer explains.

Some of the contemporary improvements include 4G network coverage, upgraded cameras and updated colors, “but overall it’s pretty much the same.”

Silberbauer explained that Nokia dumbphones are sold with many operating systems, including KaiOS, which enables “a lightweight version of WhatsApp, which some people need.”

“You pick the features you want and get a phone with 31 days of battery life, so you can recharge it 12 times a year. That’s it.”

Smartphones are not destined to disappear: they cater to a different market.

Nokia continues to sell smartphones and in January of this year introduced a unique innovation – serviceable phones.

“You can fix the phone yourself with a small screwdriver. You can change the screen, charging ports and battery in two minutes.”

The company wants to avoid its customers having to get a new phone every year: “It’s not a business model we really want to cater to.”

Phones that are thrown away rather than repaired already generate 35 million tons of waste and 261 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year in Europe.

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