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Old 09-08-2019, 12:25 PM   #1
ZodWallop
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The Light Phone, an e-ink, minimalist phone. Is there a need for this?

From time to time I see people proudly proclaiming their refusal to use a smart phone.

I just read this article about a company called Light that is introducing the Light Phone 2. This is a four inch phone with an e-ink screen and minimalist design. It can be used for calls, texts and an alarm. That's it. Due to the company's small size, the phone has a price tag of $350.

I think trying to create a minimalist phone is admirable. There's plenty of people out there that claim to want one. But as the article points out, the problem with minimalism is The One Thing. Every user will think the phone is just missing this one thing. Unfortunately, what that one thing is varies user to user.

Honestly, I feel that anyone that wants a minimalist phone would do well buying a Google Pixel and just don't install any apps on it.

Out of the box, you have phone, text, messaging, maps, a nice camera and a web browser. And you'd have an option for the One Thing you feel you're missing.

Anyway, interesting article. Worth a read.

(I couldn't decide if this was news: A new e-ink device is out, or general discussion: is there really a need for a minimalist phone?)
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:47 PM   #2
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I think trying to create a minimalist phone is admirable. There's plenty of people out there that claim to want one. But as the article points out, the problem with minimalism is The One Thing. Every user will think the phone is just missing this one thing. Unfortunately, what that one thing is varies user to user.
The One Thing this phone is missing is a reasonable price. $350??? They're out of their minds if they think it's worth $350.

My idea of a minimalist phone is an old school flip phone. It's what I use. I make calls and I text. That's it, nothing else.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:52 PM   #3
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Honestly, I feel that anyone that wants a minimalist phone would do well buying a Google Pixel and just don't install any apps on it.
Two major problems with the Google Pixel... too expensive and too Google Android. I wouldn't mind something like the Light Phone, if the price was much, much lighter.
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:07 PM   #4
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The only issue with this is the price. People who want more from a phone have options. People who want a phone to be a phone and are willing to give up features for battery life and an easier to read screen for the features it has will welcome the light phone. Though probably not at the price point being offered.

I myself am very firmly not in their camp. But by the same token they aren’t in mine. We can coexist with these devices all being relevant in our different uses.
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:15 PM   #5
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Samsung still sells a 4g flip-phone don't they? Talk & text. I was leaning toward that for my father since his 3G flip-phone won't work on Verizon's network after Jan 1st 2020. Isn't that already as minimalist as it gets in this smartphone age?

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Old 09-08-2019, 02:56 PM   #6
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My mistake. It's Verizon's LG 4G LTE-Only Exalt I'm thinking of. $170.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rcentros View Post
Two major problems with the Google Pixel... too expensive and too Google Android. I wouldn't mind something like the Light Phone, if the price was much, much lighter.
A Pixel 3A is $399. $50 more than the Light Phone.

As for it being too Google Android, any phone is unless you get an iPhone.

You can of course remove all the Google apps and replace them with something else. The reason I was thinking of the Pixel is that Samsung phones for example come loaded with uninstallable apps. And many other phones at least come with carrier apps.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:47 PM   #8
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A Pixel 3A is $399. $50 more than the Light Phone.

As for it being too Google Android, any phone is unless you get an iPhone.

You can of course remove all the Google apps and replace them with something else. The reason I was thinking of the Pixel is that Samsung phones for example come loaded with uninstallable apps. And many other phones at least come with carrier apps.
I went to directly Google where the cheapest Pixel phone they had was $500 (and that was supposedly $300 off). $400 puts the Pixel in the normal high, mid-range price (I guess). I've never spent more than about $50 for a phone, so anything above that is too much for me. Especially if my aim is a "minimalist" phone. Minimal features, minimal price would seem to be the way it should work.

You're right about Samsung and all the additional crap they add, but would the Pixel let you get rid of Android apps you don't want (like most of them)?

For now I don't have to worry about it. I've still got my Blackberry Q10 that doesn't run on Android or iOS (it runs on Blackberry OS 10). Once they shut down support for this one I'm pretty sure I'll just go with a flip phone.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:11 PM   #9
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Samsung still sells a 4g flip-phone don't they? Talk & text. I was leaning toward that for my father since his 3G flip-phone won't work on Verizon's network after Jan 1st 2020. Isn't that already as minimalist as it gets in this smartphone age?
Fyi:. I read on Howard Forums that the CDMA deadline has been pushed back:

https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...DMA-Retirement

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Old 09-08-2019, 09:18 PM   #10
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This phone would be perfect for my elderly mother-in-law. She used a flip phone for a long time, and when it died, they got her an android phone, but she really struggles using it. She just needs calling and texting.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:29 AM   #11
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This phone would be perfect for my elderly mother-in-law. She used a flip phone for a long time, and when it died, they got her an android phone, but she really struggles using it. She just needs calling and texting.
Nokia do a classic phone range the 3310 which does pretty much just that, so is simpler than even feature phones - available on Amazon and, I assume, other places. The cheapest 3310s are around USD50 sort of ballpark.

They also do a classic flip phone (2720) but I don't know if it is available in the USA at the moment; around 100 bucks.

Others may make similar, I am just more familiar with Nokia who have been bringing back some classic phones.

These seem to meet the original post's description too except for an E Ink display but I suspect the market for that bit would be infinitesimal .
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:46 AM   #12
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Fyi:. I read on Howard Forums that the CDMA deadline has been pushed back:

https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...DMA-Retirement
If it gets pushed back, it will likely be because of some contract the Verizon has with someone. The thing to keep in mind with 3G is that over time, all the carriers have been shifting resources away from 3G. So 3G coverage is likely to get more and more spotty as the turn off date approaches. We saw the same issue when the various companies went from analog to digital, analog coverage became more and more spotty.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:37 AM   #13
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Fyi:. I read on Howard Forums that the CDMA deadline has been pushed back:

https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...DMA-Retirement
I don't think anyone in that thread was ever able to definitively say that residential user's (Verizon) phone's would still work beyond 12/31/2019. The only thing I saw was that certain enterprise customers might be able to use the older network for a bit longer (think security/fire alarm systems with cellular out-of-band backups for land-lines). I'm going to go with the assumption that my father needs a new phone by the end of the year just to be safe.

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Old 09-09-2019, 09:03 AM   #14
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Our 4” iphone SEs cost $350, are pocketable, and do everything we need and more. Too bad Apple quit selling them. Personally I’m waiting for a apple watch that doesn’t require an iphone. That’s as minimalist as you’re getting. And it will likely be under $400 with cell enabled.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:47 AM   #15
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Personally I’m waiting for a apple watch that doesn’t require an iphone.
Don't hold your breath. They are totally linked to each other. I can't see Apple changing that. I love my Apple Watch. It's one of the best pieces of tech I've ever bought.
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