“Dumb” Phones Make A Comeback

"Light Phone" creators say they've seen a recent surge in sales of their trimmed-down mobile phones as Americans work to cut their screen time. NBC's Liz McLaughlin reports.

(NBC News) — About a year ago Los Angeles motion graphic designer Fred Sprinkle had a wake-up call.

“My phone usage was cutting into both my creativity and family time,” Sprinkle says.

He made a drastic move: Ditching his smartphone.

“The first thing I noticed was almost a reduction in anxiety,” he recalls.

Still, he’s not totally off the grid. Now he uses the $350 Light Phone II, a credit-card sized, minimalist phone with limited features.

Joe Hollier and Kai Tang came up with the Light Phone concept about seven years ago and have seen a recent surge in growth as the pandemic increased the average American’s screen time.

“The phone is intended to be invisible, not something that you’re constantly checking,” Hollier says.

While some users make the full leap to the Light Phone, about half make this their second phone, using the smartphone when they need it and moving the sim card over to their light phone when they want to take a break. Some have also switched to vintage or prepaid “dumb” phones, but it’s not for everyone.

Fred Sprinkle says since he’s “gone light” three months ago he’s felt more focused and more connected with his family.

“A lot of times in life, really, the answer that we’re really looking for we can’t just Google,” he says.

Read more here.