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What’s Sleek, Simple, and Could Help End Our Smartphone Addiction?

The Light Phone is the size of a credit card, can go weeks on a single charge, and does just one thing: make phone calls.

Be honest: Have you checked your smartphone in the last ten minutes? Twenty minutes? Are you reading this on a smart phone right now?

The smarter our phones get, the more we allow them to dominate our time and energy, to say nothing of our fields of vision. For many of us, smartphones have more or less become an inescapable necessity, our window to the world, and our primary platform for communicating with friends, family, and internet strangers alike. But tangled in our social media streams and hyper-connected apps, we’ve begun to lose our ability to focus on the here and now, choosing to stare down at a screen, rather than out into the world. Yes, the reality of our world today necessitates a degree of reachability, but at what cost?

Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang are well aware of this necessity of connection, as well as the dangers of smartphone over-saturation in our daily lives. The two are the brains behind The Light Phone, a dramatically simple piece of tech that does one thing, and one thing only: Make phone calls.


The Light Phone, their website explains, is “designed to be used as little as possible.” It works by storing up to ten numbers on speed dial and pairing (via app) with your existing smartphone, to act as a call-forwarding device. From a sheer design perspective, every inch of the credit card-sized device is calibrated to be inauspiciously mono-functional. With an advertised battery life of 20 days, the Light Phone takes and makes calls. That’s it.

It is, Tang and Hollier admit, not a step forward in cell phone technology, but rather a re-envisioning of the best of what’s already out there. As Tang explained to Fast Company:

“We're not saying people shouldn't use smartphones at all. We're just saying that for certain moments—like taking your kid to the park, having dinner with your wife—those moments we don't really need notifications from Twitter or Facebook or anything else.”

The public seems eager to agree: The Light Phone has blown past an initial $200,000 goal in just the first few weeks of its ongoing crowdfunding campaign.

Ultimately, The Light Phone probably won’t replace your existing mobile device. But, by stripping our addiction to over-connectivity down to its simplest form, it might just help us break free from our smart phones, if only for a few moments a day. And in those moments, those of us who would otherwise find ourselves hopelessly glued to an ultra-high definition retina screen just might, instead, end up seeing the light.

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