Folding Smartphones May Fix Your Distracted Mind
They’re slightly less efficient, and that’s a good thing
In Microprocessing, columnist Angela Lashbrook aims to improve your relationship with technology every week. Microprocessing goes deep on the little things that define your online life today to give you a better tomorrow.
I miss my old Razr phone. It was a lavender-tinted pink, which at the time seemed very sophisticated, and because I was among the first in my 11th-grade class to get one, I experienced my own short-lived burst of cool as people crowded around me, oohing and aahing at the new technology. Though we all continued climbing the ladder each year into more complex mobile technology, I am still nostalgic for that little pink brick I could flip open with a snap to hammer out a T9 text.
The phone I have now, the iPhone XR, is… fine. It has a big screen, which I like. The battery life is impressive (if I don’t have the Twitter app installed, anyway). I am also hopelessly welded to it, married to it, in a way that’s kind of disgusting. All I need to do is hold the phone in front of my face and suddenly the whole world is a tap away. It’s so easy to consume a steady, consistent dose of rage and terror and Photoshopped influencers and work emails and animal videos and texts — often at the sorry expense of whoever I’m talking to, in the flesh, at that moment.
The physical design of the iPhone, and most other popular smartphones currently on the market, is constructed to make interaction as easy as possible. On its face, this is a good thing — a well-designed product is a product that seamlessly fits into your life — but as we all know by now, it comes with downsides. Could a new generation of folding phones, which add a physical barrier between the user and that alluring smartphone screen, discourage unhealthy habits and help us connect to the people in front of us?
The first test of these questions comes in the shape of a reinvented Razr, among others.
“Anyone who thinks phones are getting boring — show them this video,” says Marques Brownlee, the popular tech YouTuber, in a video about the new Razr, which, he claims, “really is something special.” The phone looks…