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Goodbye, Smartphones? Yanks Turning Back To Flip-Phones

As sales of smartphones including the Apple iPhone line begin to languish, US reports suggest major sections of the phone-buying public are turning back to so-called “flip phones” – ie, phones you mainly use for making calls, not playing with apps.

“A flip phone will save you money, and it just might be cooler,” according to a report by The Street Web site. A typical model sold by major US chain Best Buy goes for just US$6.99. “Standby time is 10 days,” the report says, adding: “Not hours. Days.”

Even better: a flip phone may be a new sign of cool, The Street maintains. It instances James Gardner, from digital experience agency Connective DX who has said there’s a phenomenon he calls “reverse status signaling.”

In conventional status signalling we flaunt our wealth via brands like Louis Vuitton and BMW, Gardner says. But in reverse status signalling we “turn this on its ear”.

“Smartphones were once scarce and accessible only to the elite,” Gardner added. “Now, they’re mainstream and have become, not a signal of power, but instead a sign that you’re a corporate drone who’s tethered to their job and e-mail 24×7. Reverting to a flip phone – or no phone at all – subtly tells the world that you report to nobody. You are the boss.”

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