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PAINTER: Will Americans 'flip' for new phone craze?

• Jan 28, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Are flip phones making a comeback?

According to Fox News, the flip phone is having a “mini-resurgence as consumers seek less distraction.”

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. says flip phones are the new trend in technology. “It is an idea that's gaining traction,” CBC reported, adding that such celebrities as Rihanna, Daniel Day Lewis and Kim Kardashian have been spotted using flip phones.

My wife, Marilyn, will be pleased with this news. She still uses a flip phone, and has had no desire to use a smartphone. She just wanted a phone to make calls and send text messages.

We recently switched cellphone services and both of us ordered new phones. I got a smartphone, and Marilyn, of course, opted for a flip phone.

I probably should have followed her lead. I'm not so smart when it comes to using a smartphone. For example, I created a speed list with family members and some friends’ names on it. The speed list made it easier to make calls, but it also had me randomly calling people — a term known as “butt dialing.”

I wasn't sitting when my phone kept accidentally calling people. It seems if I forgot to end a call, the phone would dial up the next number from the speed dialing list. I don't have to tell you how many times I annoyed people. It was embarrassing when people would call back, and I would have to tell them I had accidentally called them.

I solved the problem by eliminating my speed dialing list. I also haven't quite figured out how to use all of the gadgets on my phone.

For those of you who have shunned smartphones and are looking for a less-complicated phone, the comeback of the flip phone is good news.

“Large companies are releasing devices that are either flip phones or a lessened version of a smartphone, sometimes referred to as a ‘dumb phone,’” according to the CBC.

So why are people switching to flip phones? According to an article in The Guardian, flip phones are the quickest fix to cellphone addiction. We see people all the time checking their social media pages and emails, some to the point of distraction, such as looking at your cellphone while driving.

Some parents might like the idea of getting flip phones for their kids so that they would spend less time scrolling the internet or posting on social media.

Flip phones are also a lot cheaper than smartphones, some that cost as much as $1,000. Emma Brookes wrote in The Guardian that “by ditching your smartphone you will be sharper and more focused.”

For those who don't want to give up their smartphone, Apple and Samsung, two of the major players in the technology field, have been working on developing folding phones that can easily fit in your pocket. “Foldable phones could be the future,” Brett Newman, co-founder of produce design firm Daylight Design, told CNBC. “But they need to meet the current standards of performance and specifications, and be foldable to be widely accepted.”

We have come a long way in the technology of cellphones. Many of us recall phones with antennas and cell service that was sporadic at best. Now, an estimated 300 million people have smartphones in which they can scroll websites, check their emails and make social media posts. It seems our lives have become dependent on smartphones.

Will we turn back time and buy flip phones? While I am not very good using a smartphone, I don't think I am quite ready to make the switch. I enjoy being able to check up on how Detroit professional sports teams are doing, even if they are lousy.

It will be interesting to see if there is a major push toward using flip phones again. Stay tuned, flip phone lovers: You may be the future.

— By Len Painter, Tribune community columnist

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