Break Your Phone Addiction With … a Second Phone?

Your cellphone is ruining your life. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, actually. We’ve all turn out to be so absorbed within the blinking, bleeping monsters in our pockets that even the gadgetmakers have began shelling out salves for extreme cellphone use. One of their extra out-there “options”: Start carrying two telephones. There’s a sure counter­intuitive logic at work—shouldn’t we now have fewer telephones? Maybe. But out of this existential panic, those that created our display dependency and those that are dedicated to serving to us battle it have give you a tantalizing (and tantalizingly worthwhile) repair. It’s not about getting off your cellphone, per se. It’s about getting on a unique one.

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This is the cellphone that can show you how to reside your greatest life—a life wherein Instagram, Slack, Facebook, and e-mail are relegated to the again of your thoughts. Barely bigger than a bank card, this cellphone relaxes your two-handed grip and liberates extra of your pocket actual property. That different cellphone lures you right into a Chinese finger entice. This gadget units you free.

Perhaps you’re now considering of the primary cellphone you ever owned, Tamagotchi-like with its plastic physique and tactile keypad. But these should not the telephones of the 20th century. The Light Phone, for instance, seems like a glowing calculator. It behaves like a transportable landline—it makes and receives calls, by way of your principal cellphone—and does little else. No web, no GPS, no music, no texts. (A second model, as a result of ship someday in 2019, provides an alarm clock and fundamental messaging.) With it, you may stash your addicta-phone in a drawer and never go utterly off the grid.

But perhaps you need your Lilliputian cellphone companion to have higher ambitions. The not too long ago revived Palm (as in: Pilot) enables you to select your individual degree of escape. It seems extra just like the cellphone you’re already utilizing, solely downsized to a 3.3-inch display, a 12-megapixel digital camera on the again, and a collection of Android apps to offer you entry to every thing you need—merely subtract that which you want to depart behind, and nothing you don’t. (Yes, you may simply discover the energy to delete the addictive apps from the cellphone you have already got, however the admittedly wishful considering right here is that the minuscule show will dissuade you from spending a lot time on it anyway.) The monochrome-screened, bubble-­buttoned Punkt MP02 affords a “dumb” expertise with a few good options, like 4G connectivity and safety software program constructed by BlackBerry. For the extra ascetic, there’s the diminutive Japanese Kyocera Card Keitai KY-01L. It has an epaper display and handles solely calls, texts, alarms, and net looking.

These innovations invite you to depart your cellphone behind. Unshackled out of your ultrasmart, ultra-enticing machine, you may really focus in your partner, on the children, on lastly ending that New Yorker article about brutalist structure. These are telephones which are servants, not masters.

What a load of baloney. Face it, you’ll by no means be the grasp so long as your eyeball ­magnet of an actual cellphone is conveniently stashed in your bag. A second cellphone, nonetheless tempting, can’t prevent from the will to seize that completely Instagrammable shot, the itch to examine your e-mail. It received’t cease the intoxicating hits of dopamine if you lastly return to your main cellphone, which is brimming with notifications.

A minimalist cellphone can’t save us. But maybe it may do one thing else: present a dose of techno-suboxone. It can ease our habit, interrupting our behavior of compulsive ­notification-checking and anxious screen-glancing with out the ache of going chilly turkey. Will you come back to your smartphone after a short time away? Probably. But a dumb cellphone can present us glimpses, nonetheless temporary, of a life with out all of the indulgences and interruptions of our pocket supercomputers.

A tiny cellphone offers us a means towards the primary and most painful step in restoration: admitting we now have an issue.

Styling by Audrey Taylor

Arielle Pardes (@pardesoteric) wrote about racial id amongst robots in problem 26.11.

This article seems within the January problem. Subscribe now.

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