From high tech to no tech.
Lately, it seems as if phones aren’t so much cellular devices as they are electronic extensions of our hands. A phone’s primary purpose is no longer to conveniently connect us, but rather to act as a surrogate pacifier, helping humans to self-soothe. We walk around like adult Linus van Pelts, tenderly clutching our smartphone blankets, hoping they will placate us in moments of anxiety, boredom and loneliness.
Phone addiction is real and the infection’s growing every day: In 2014, the average American checked their phone 33 times a day. In 2015, that number increased to 46 times a day. By 2020, we’ll probably all be dead, but if we aren’t, guaranteed it’ll be because we were too busy checking our emails to butcher the planet and each other.
The cure for your iPhone fever
Advertising creatives Chris Sheldon and Van Gould were hanging out on a rooftop bar when they looked around and noticed everyone in the establishment had their phones out. To solve what they perceive as the pervasive problem of smart phone overuse, the copywriter and art director joined forces and developed a new product: the NoPhone.
Described as a “technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact,” the NoPhone is brilliant in its simplicity: a rectangular piece of plastic designed to fit inside a consumer’s hand, just like a phone would. For the low price of $10, the NoPhone provides users with the comfort of carrying a phone, without the temptation of actually using one.
To create the NoPhone, Sheldon and Gould launched their business, NoPhone LLC, raising over $18,000 on Kickstarter. In April 2016, the duo appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” although their pitch was ultimately unsuccessful. AdWeek reports that as of November, 12,000 NoPhones have been sold and the product is proving so successful that therapists are even giving the fake phone to clients to use as a counseling tool.
The phone that is no phone at all
The product page on NoPhone’s website showcases the company’s various offerings and deals: The NoPhone Selfie is a regular NoPhone with a stick-on reflective mirror; The Family Plan comes complete with five NoPhones and nothing else. And now available for preorder on Kickstarter is NoPhone’s newest creation, the NoPhone Air.
According to a September press release, the NoPhone Air is “the first NoPhone that is no phone at all.” The phone guarantees zero features and the creators insist that the device will be “the least advanced NoPhone ever.” The $5 fee for the nonexistent phone presumably covers the cost of the packaging, which NoPhone promises to be “frustration-free.” Other than that, you get what you paid for, which is nothing.
So, if you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for the person who already has everything (including an extreme addiction to their smartphone) consider getting them a NoPhone and the gift of freedom: no text messages to respond to, no emails to check, no Facebook battles to engage in, no fake news articles to dispute. It might be the best gift you give this year.