If we're honest there isn't much that is really smart about smartphones other than that they are smarter than most of the people who use and subsequently become addicted to them. When it is commonly known that national government intelligence agencies are
filling up petabytes of hard disk space with recordings of private conversations and stored text messages, photos, videos and selfies of people's genitals, and tracking their ordinary citizens who, in the cause of spreading 'woke' values embraced by Californian bllionaire - psychopaths, have been re - evaluated as a greater terrorist threat than actual
foreign terrorists, one has to wonder if it is the phones that are smart or the people addicted o them who are incredibly dumb.
What I'm saying is that in an era of total surveillance when privacy is at a premium it is, is it not, unwise to lay out a small fortune in order to possess (you never actually own them in the truest sense,) a more sophisticated gadget for spying on you than any of your friends. I have to say here I have a smartphone myself, an entry level Nokia One plus, but being a retired computer and networks specialist I have 'tweaked' it somewhat, thus (intentionally) disabling most of its so called smarts.
The calculator and stop watch feature get used, otherwise the only apps that remain on it are the ones essential to running its basic functions of making and receiving phone calls and texts. Beyond that there is only a sat - nav app that warns me when a speed camera or cop car is nearby. But I have a few decades experience of tweaking computer systems behind me - and if my son and daughter had not bought me the phone a year ago I might still have been using the ancient Nokia bought around 2005.
I'm not alone in resenting the intrusiveness of smartphones, some people have had enough of the constant interruptions, reminders, nudges and adverts relating to things discussed in private conversations and are throwing their smart phones into the trash and replacing them with "dumbphones" instead.
An example is seventeen-year-old Robin West, who according to the BBC is an anomaly among her peers: "she doesn't have a smartphone." Instead of scrolling through apps like TikTok and Instagram all day, she uses a so-called "dumbphone".
People who had a cell phone in the late 1990s (and I was an early adopter, I've had one since the 1980s, they were always annoying but for professional reasons having one was essential,) are all too familiar with these; for everyone else these are basic handsets, or feature phones, with very limited functionality compared to say an iPhone. For the most part, you can typically only make and receive calls and SMS text messages. And, if you are lucky, listen to radio and take very basic photos, but definitely not connect to the internet or apps.
Robin decided to ditch her former smartphone two years ago. While looking for a replacement handset in a second-hand shop she was lured by the low price of a "brick phone". Her current handset, from French firm MobiWire, cost her just £8. And because it has no smartphone functionality there is no monthly contract or data bill to eat up the cash.
"I didn't notice until I bought a brick phone how much the smartphone had taken over my life," she says. "I had a lot of social media apps on it, and I didn't get as much done as I was always on my phone."
The Londoner adds that she doesn't think she'll ever buy another smartphone. "I'm happy with my brick - I don't think it limits me. I'm definitely more proactive."
According to BBC, dumbphones are enjoying a revival. Google searches for them jumped by 89% between 2018 and 2021, according to a report by software firm SEMrush. And while sales figures are hard to come by, one report said that global purchases of dumbphones were due to hit one billion units last year, up from 400 million in 2019. This compares to worldwide sales of 1.4 billion smart phones last year, following a 12.5% decline in 2020.
Meanwhile, a 2021 study by accountancy group Deloitte said that one in 10 mobile phone users in the UK had a dumbphone.
It seems there is still hope for humanity.