The Light Phone 2 is a smartphone, but it’s one that’s designed to be used as little as possible.
Currently up for funding on Indiegogo, the second version of Light's distraction-free phone will be able to make calls, send texts and do some smartphone-specific things (hail an Uber, read or send an email, play music) all without the bright and shiny, gaze-grabbing features found on regular smartphones.
"This [phone] will never scroll Instagram. It would just be, sort of, a tool," Light co-founder and designer Joe Hollier told Circa.
The original, screen-less, phone-call-only Light Phone was released in 2016 as a device to help you get off the grid for periods of time. Light Phone 2, however, with its unique mix of a Kindle-like monochrome e-ink display, the Android smartphone OS and 4G wireless connectivity, will be able to handle apps for things like directions or setting an alarm while purposely not supporting video-streaming, most social media or really any of the apps that ultimately turn our phones into portable idiot boxes.
Hollier believes including that extra bit of functionality over the first Light Phone will make Light Phone 2 more likely to either be your main phone or at least let you "Go Light" more often than was realistically possible with the first version.
Of course, the new Light Phone is coming at a time when the topic of smartphone addiction is hitting the mainstream.
A campaign called Truth About Tech, fronted by former Facebook and Google employees, has recently caught headlines by raising claims that today’s ad-motivated digital services use things like endless scrolling and push notifications to keep us locked into our smartphone screens all day by design. And Hollier is on board with that message.
"Their whole metric of success is how many hours a user spends on their product," he agreed. "How can that possibly be aligned with our quality of life? So the conversation has naturally escalated."
So, with probably more people than ever looking to find a healthy and practical way to break out of the smartphone spell, Hollier, an artist first and foremost, thinks the $400 Light Phone 2 is not only a cheaper option than stripping apps and disabling features from your $700, $800 or even $1,000 handset, but it’s also a more beautiful and simpler one.
"Where we position ourselves is sort of a refreshing alternative," he pitched.
Discounted presales for Light Phone 2 are being taken now at the company’s Indiegogo page, with an estimated release for the phone set for April 2019.